Digital Skills spotlighted in MAC update on impact of EEA workers in UK

Today, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published their interim update on the work commissioned by the Home Office in July 2017 exploring the current impact of EEA-workers in the UK labour market and likely future patterns.

The update summarises responses to the Call for Evidence published last Summer and tries to bring order to the disparate range of views received. Front and centre is the recognition of the role digital skills and talent play in the growth of the UK economy as a whole. techUK’s own submission to the call for evidence is cited in the first chapter highlighting the sectors concerns about skills shortages in STEM areas and the need for continued access to the EU’s talent pool post-Brexit.

It is encouraging to see the MAC recognising that “the vast majority of employers do not deliberately seek to fill vacancies with migrant workers.” This will be valuable in combatting public perceptions that the domestic workforce is overlooked unnecessarily, and we hope focuses the Government’s collective mind to, as the MAC puts it “addressing the UK digital skills gap...and improving STEM skills through the education system.”

The interim report also draws out the concerns held across industry, including the tech sector, around the current operation of the tier 2 visa regime and dedicates some space to considering the objections presented in response to the Call for Evidence. It is clear to us that Post-Brexit, the already creaking Tier 2 scheme cannot simply be extended to cover EEA workers. techUK will continue to call for reform of the visa system so that the UK can continue to benefit from the controlled immigration of talent from overseas. We hope that the MAC will offer recommendations that address these concerns in their final report which we eagerly await.

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