In a statement public on Friday, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is asking the UK government to scrap a net immigration target of fewer than 100,000 migrants a year; instead, the focus should be on the immigrants’ net contribution to the economy.
The British Home Office responds that “there is no consent” for such an “uncontrolled” migration policy and remains committed to achieving net migration in the tens of thousands.
The government is expected to issue its new immigration plans, following an extended period of public consultation. The only concession on immigration Theresa May’s White Paper included was visa free travel for business or tourism.
The CBI lobby group says the migration system should ensure migrants make a positive contribution to the UK economy without seeking to meet an absolute quota. As for the incurred cost on social services, CBI argues that the government should provide extra funding in areas with a higher concentration of newcomers.
The CBI proposes that EU citizens could be registered on arrival and asked to leave within three months “unless they can prove that they are working, studying or are self-sufficient.” Calls for EU nationals to be treated at par with immigrants from the rest of the world are according to CBI “unworkable,” as they are complex, time-consuming, and expensive, particularly for small and medium businesses.
The CBI suggests that one of the first sectors to suffer by the new migration regime will be social services. However, the CBI also points to the UK’s struggle to remain a leading innovation hub.