EVESHAM Labour chiefs have launched a stinging attack at the government’s proposals for a new points-based immigration system and claimed it would have a ‘devastating’ impact on the local economy.
Under the new rules which will come in on January 1 next year, only workers who earn at least £25,600 will be allowed entry into the UK. There will also be no temporary or general visa options for low-skilled migrant workers, other than seasonal workers.
Overseas workers will need to earn 70 points to get a work visa only obtainable by having a range of skills and a sponsor and speaking good English on arrival.
Helen Russell, Labour’s candidate at December’s General Election, warned the policy would impact on the health and care sector.
“There are 100,000 vacancies in the NHS and 122,000 in social care. Placing barriers to recruitment from overseas would cause huge difficulties.
“NHS trusts, councils and private care companies can’t recruit enough local staff, they have to rely on workers from elsewhere.
“But even with these migrant employees, there are still way too few care workers to meet demand. Care work is highly skilled, but low paid, so falls foul of the government’s arbitrary immigration threshold.
“Suddenly ending this vital supply of labour will cause huge problems for the care of the elderly, sick and vulnerable. The government simply has to think again,” she added.
David Haslam, chair of Evesham Labour, said: “These plans are deeply unpopular with businesses and employers, and will cause havoc for our economy county-wide. “Agriculture, food processing and care sectors in our county rely especially on labour from beyond the UK. Migration has built our strong economy, the Home Secretary’s figures of 8.3million economically inactive workers have been shown to be complete nonsense.
“To take one example, the shortage in the freight transport sector of 59,000, with 13 per cent of HGV drivers currently coming from the EU.
“Our local businesses need an immigration policy which brings in workers across all skill levels. The idea that only high-skilled immigration should be allowed is both elitist and economically unsound,” he added.