"As the country faces significant skills challenges, councils must be involved in the development of any new immigration system."
Responding to the Migration Advisory Committee’s report on the Home Secretary's commission into a points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s Brexit Taskforce, said:
“Our public and private sectors across the country rely heavily on EU nationals to provide vital services. Our exit from the EU will add further opportunities and challenges to specific sectors such as construction and social care, alongside other wider workforce challenges such as digitalisation, the gig economy and extended working lives.
“As the country faces significant skills challenges, councils must be involved in the development of any new immigration system and can help to assess demand for skills locally, ensuring it takes account of the varied needs of employers in different parts of the country.
“As this report confirms, the social care system faces one of the most serious challenges and questions remain surrounding how the social care workforce could be maintained if the minimum salary requirement was placed on this sector. Non-UK EU nationals make up 7 per cent of the social care workforce and 25 per cent of the current employees in social care wouldn’t have met the proposed thresholds.
“We look forward to continuing to work with government on this. Councils know their communities best and have a unique insight and interest in ensuring the needs of employers in the wider local economy – both large and small − are understood, as well as met. We have previously also called for salary thresholds to be variable across sector and region, to reflect the needs of different employers, alongside a reformed and devolved skills and employment system to tackle the existing national skills shortages.”