Immigration white paper sparks staff shortage fears

first_imgBusiness will face a shortage of low-skilled staff under immigration proposals announced today, industry groups have warned.A £30,000-a-year minimum salary threshold the Government plans to set for all migrant workers is far too high, trade chiefs said in response to today’s white paper on immigration.The paper proposes replacing the current system of admitting only highly-skilled workers from outside the EU, and workers of all skill levels from the EU, with a single route.Under the plans, workers would have to earn at least £30,000, although the paper says government will discuss with businesses and employers what salary threshold should be set.Also proposed, as a transitional measure, is allowing short-term workers to come for a maximum of 12 months, followed by a 12-month ‘cooling off’ period to prevent people working in the UK permanently.The bakery industry and associated trades rely heavily on low-skilled workers, and concerns have already been raised about the plans.“The £30,000 minimum income requirement for workers coming to the UK is far too high,” said British Sandwich Association (BSA) director Jim Winship. “It needs to be around £20,000 in London and between £15-18,000 outside London, depending on the location.”He added that only allowing low-skilled workers to come to the UK for a year is too little.“At the very least it should be two years to allow for training and for businesses to see a return on their investment.”The British Retail Consortium (BRC) voiced similar concerns, saying the proposals would see retailers face rising hiring costs for new workers, putting pressure on the price of goods and services for consumers. “Setting the main cut-off for hiring workers from outside the UK at £30,000 would leave retailers and their supply chains recruiting from a very small pool of domestic labour, the vast majority of whom are already in work,” said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson, adding it should be reduced.“Further proposals for a temporary 12-month visa for those earning under £30,000 would embed unnecessary cost and churn into the recruitment process and undermine the work currently being done by retailers to attract and retain colleagues.”The government also plans to remove a cap on the number of skilled workers being admitted, which the BRC said was a positive.THe BSA said it welcomed a review of the UK immigration rules which it described as not working for the sandwich industry in the current Brexit climate.”Businesses in the food industry are already struggling to fill vacancies because of the uncertainties over Brexit and this will get worse unless the rules are relaxed. We know of restaurants that are unable to open due to staff shortage,” added Winship.last_img read more

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Allardyce ‘chuffed’ as West Ham end winless streak

first_img1 West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was ‘chuffed’ to see his side halt a seven-game winless run with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Sunderland at Upton Park.Diafra Sakho struck an 88th minute winner to finally inject some life into a dull encounter in east London, as new Sunderland head coach Dick Advocaat tasted defeat in his first game in charge of the relegation-threatened Black Cats.The Irons, who were in and around the top teams earlier in the campaign, have seen their hopes of challenging for the European places slip away following a streak which included three successive defeats.But Allardyce, who responded to suggestions from club vice-chairman Karren Brady his side have underachieved in recent games, is still upbeat as his side look to finish as high in the standings as they can with eight games remaining.“It is nice to get a win to make everyone’s life a little more comfortable this weekend. We are really chuffed,” said the Hammers boss.“The performances have been there, but the results have not over the past ten or 11 games. We just have not been able to find the victory we deserved.“Even though wins have eluded us, we are on 42 points, which is the same total as last year, and we are heading for probably the best total we have had since we have been back in the Premier League.“Anybody who wants more than that, I don’t know why they can ask for more.”It was a turgid clash at the Boleyn Ground, with little class to speak of until Sakho finally put the ball in the back of the net.There was a hint of a foul on a Sunderland player in the build-up to that goal, but Allardyce added that it was about time his side got the rub of the green.“Even though the game at times was a bit scrappy, we deserved it,” he said.“Yes, there was probably a foul, but it is about time something went our way rather than against us.“When things are going for you, they go for you, when they go against you they can be devastating for you.“But on the back of the poor decisions we have had over the past ten games, it was about time one went in our favour.“This win now puts us in a better frame of mind going into the international break.“We want to get all of our players back fit now, we won’t have Andy Carroll or James Tomkins for the rest of the season, so these other guys will make the squad stronger.“Our run-in suggests we can win some more games, to push on and finish as high as we can.” West Ham manager Sam Allardyce last_img read more

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