Our analysis of the Government's Immigration White Paper
The Government's Immigration White Paper, launched today, raises yet more questions about our ability to attract and retain the global talent needed to compete on a global level.
Whilst there are some encouraging elements, such as the agreement to consult business on the £30k salary threshold, and removing the labour market test for some, the white paper falls short of providing the confidence and surety the sector needs and by the government's own admission will leave the country worse off as a result. To quote the report:
“This represents a reduction in GDP per capita of between 0.1 per cent and 0.2 percent in 2025” and “We estimate that this reduction in long-term EEA migrants could have a cumulative fiscal cost of between £2billion and £4billion over the first five years (2021-2025)”
The White paper is based on three key principles: the ending of free movement, the introduction of a single immigration system and the creation of a skills-based approach.
Our own research indicates that as many as 61% of games businesses engage or employ non-UK nationals to make innovative new games and services. Evidence suggest that the reliance on EU talent in particular is significant: on average EU employees make up 34% of these companies’ headcount. In comparison, whilst 38% of games businesses employ workers from outside the EU, on average these international employees make up 17% of these companies’ headcount. We are in competition for global talent for a number of reasons:
We produce products and services enjoyed by consumers around the world which inherently require a global workforce with the requisite skills to engage and communicate with an international audience. Secondly, the games industry is one where there is fierce competition for specialist and newly emerging skills and for people who have worked on successful individual titles or franchises.
Our forthcoming departure from the EU presents Government with the opportunity to deliver an immigration system that supports the UK’s most dynamic sectors, including our world-class games and interactive entertainment industry.
Ukie have consistently called for a new immigration system that is data-driven, futureproof and streamlined and which responds to economic demand, enabling our economy to thrive and grow. Further consultation is much needed, as well as time built in for implementation to ensure we have a system that works.