CBI releases immigration report foretelling reform in absence of free movement

This morning, The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released its immigration report Open and controlled – a new approach to immigration after Brexit. As a CBI member, Ukie has been very vocal about the need for reform of the immigration system to support the ease of movement, especially considering Brexit. The report comes as a step in the right direction for this, and we’re glad to have contributed to the process.

The report breaks down its recommendations in 5 broad categories covering:

  • Building public trust by shifting away from numbers and caps towards assessing contribution
  • Reform of the non-EU system to enable better access to skills from around the world
  • Recognising the strong links between people and trade (easy border transfers etc)
  • Replacing free movement with a new system (not just the non-EU route)
  • Ensuring a smooth transition to any new migration system

The report begins by stating that reform will happen, and free movement will end. It recognises though, that such reform needs to strike a balance between being open enough to support economic growth whilst maintaining (or improving) public confidence and trust in our ability to control our borders.

It goes on to state that almost every single credible economic study demonstrates that immigration is a net benefit to the economy (and not just to ours) leading to the conclusion that putting migration on the negotiating table can only improve our chances of a good deal.

The report makes the point that this is not just about the brightest and the best either and says that the full spectrum of skill levels are needed for a strong and healthy economy. Equally the need for ease of mobility is highlighted allowing  travel at short notice around Europe to short term appointments, trade shows and conferences; our trade is global.

It concludes by saying that the current non-EU immigration system is largely inaccessible to businesses and cannot be considered a model to replace free movement with, reform must therefore look at things from a fresh page.

As said in our State of Play report, which looked into the concerns of the UK games industry post Brexit, as long as government recognises immigration as a viable benefit to the economy and thus works to make the system more accessible, the industry will continue to flourish and attract the best talent.