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No-deal Brexit migration threat to UK manufacturing

Fashion Roundtable, the secretariat for the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Textiles and Fashion, is convening a crisis meeting to try to prevent a “severe shortage” of skilled fashion workers in the event of a no-deal Brexit. 

In September 2018, the migration advisory committee (MAC) published a report on the future of immigration after Brexit. Assuming a no-deal Brexit, the committee recommended folding European Union citizens in the UK into a modified version of the existing work visa system for non-EU migrants.

The modifications would not, however, extend to the “Tier 2” £30,000 minimum salary requirement. Skilled workers such as production or sample machinist typically earn below £30,000, and so would not be able to hold a Tier 2 visa. The committee has advised the government to “maintain existing salary thresholds for all migrants in Tier 2”. 

The APPG for Textiles in Fashion is holding a meeting at the Houses of Parliament on 8 July of manufacturers and policy makers to discuss which visas the sector needs to continue to thrive. The APPG for Textiles in Fashion advocates a “more inclusive” visa system to address the shortage of qualified workers in clothing manufacturing.

Jenny Holloway, founder and CEO of north London manufacturer Fashion Enter, said: “We cannot recruit enough trained production and sample machinists to expand our business sustainably. There is just not enough UK talent to meet demand. We need skilled workers now across our factory and the wider UK manufacturing industry to not only met demand, but grow our business.”

Tamara Cincik, CEO and founder of Fashion Roundtable, said: “Our industry is growing, but without the talent from domicile residents, the sector has relied on EU and non-EU nationals. Not only does manufacturing education need to grow here in the UK, we also need to be maintained continued access to non-UK nationals, if we are not only to maintain but also grow our fashion manufacturing business.”

The House of Commons has been contacted for comment. 

The APPG for Textiles in Fashion meeting will take place from 10am to 12pm in Room C at 1 Parliament Street, Houses of Parliament. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • At some point the UK Govt (of any colour) is going to have to wake up and realise that the environmental damage of scrapping £millions of clothes due to their throwaway nature is not the only side-effect of this business. Shipping product from the Far Eastern manufacturing base isn't carbon-neutral either. Production needs to be local to avoid more damage. Good luck with the representations - I think you're going to need it...

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