The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has called for the government to “not delay” publishing the UK’s new immigration system to avoid disruption for businesses and consumers.
In response to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report published yesterday, the BRC said the retail industry requires a workforce “across all skill levels”.
The MAC report suggested the minimum salary threshold of £30,000 should fall to £25,600 for all workers and advised against a points-based system.
A Home Office spokeswoman could not say whether the government would adopt the recommendations, but said the government would be introducing a points-based immigration system from 2021.
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Director of business and regulation at the BRC Tom Ironside said: “With only 11 months to go before a new system is due to be implemented, we urge the government to publish the details of the UK’s new immigration system as soon as possible.
“There is little time for business to plan and adjust – government must not delay if they wish to avoid disruption to businesses and consumers.
“The operation of warehouses, food factories and city centre stores all benefit from the vital contribution from EU migrant workers. Where vacancies cannot be filled from the local labour market, retailers must be able to recruit from the widest talent pool available.
“It is important that any proposed salary threshold for those coming to the UK does not limit the industry’s access to vital workers in the supply chain.”
It echoes calls from UK manufacturers and suppliers, who this week expressed alarm about the uncertainty created by government plans for a new post-Brexit immigration regime and the possibility of a skills shortage.