‘Definitely not! PM urged not to relax Brexit immigration rules despite staff shortages

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The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) urged the Government to change the rules to help the UK’s crumbling economy following the devastating Covid pandemic. The group said companies were struggling to hire workers from abroad for roles such as builders, butchers and welding and so they should be added to the “shortage occupations list” to help combat the employment gaps. The Prime Minister was also advised to update the UK’s immigration policy now it is not longer part of the EU, which currently works on a points-based system.

Under the current rules, visa applicants in these sorts of job roles get 20 extra points towards the 70-point minimum required to work in the UK.

Express.co.uk readers were asked between 4.57pm yesterday and 9.45am today whether they thought Mr Johnson should relax new immigration rules to combat staff shortages.

Out of the 4.564 people who voted, 4,046 (89 percent) said no.

Only 475 voters (11 percent) agreed that the rules should be relaxed.

And 43 people (0 percent) said they did not know.

Many readers also shared their anger at the prospect of changing the rules.

One person said: “No he should not.”

Another added: “Nope! We have to find a better balance between population numbers and public services, housing, NHS, GP, education, policing and crime, public transport, environment.”

A third reader wrote: “Boris Johnson is walking a very, very fine line wrecking everything the Tories achieved if this happens.”

And a fourth simply warned: “Definitely not.”

It comes after an estimated 1.3 million non-UK workers have left the UK since late 2019.

EU citizens living in the UK also only have today left to apply for EU settled status (EUSS).

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CBI President Karan Bilimoria called on the Prime Minister to address the issues surrounding the shortages.

She said: “Where there are clear, evidenced labour shortages, businesses should be able to hire from overseas. An evolving shortage occupations list could help.

“But it’s really important to stress: workers from overseas aren’t, and shouldn’t be, our only response to labour shortages.

“Investing in skills here, too, is vital.

“It’s not an either/or choice. We must do both to ensure our firms have the access to people they need to succeed.”

A spokesperson for the Government responded that employers should try to focus on worker from the UK, rather than from abroad.

They said: “We’ve implemented an unprecedented package of measures to support businesses during the pandemic and our Plan for Jobs is helping people across the country retrain, build new skills and get back into work.

“We’re also working with industries to better promote jobs, training and a range of other initiatives.

“The Government carefully considered the migration advisory committee’s findings and recommendations on the shortage occupation list.

“But decided not to make wide-scale changes while we monitor the new skilled worker route and assess how the UK labour market develops and recovers post-pandemic.”

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