DEBATE: Should the government scrap the limits on skilled migrants coming to the UK?

One Day Without Them Demonstration Takes Place In Westminster
Immigration is to every aspect of London life (Source: Getty)

Should the government scrap the limits on skilled migrants coming to the UK?


Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First, says YES.

People from the EU and around the world are critical to our economy – thousands of workers in financial services, construction, hospitality and professional services, each contributing £46,000 every year to our economy and supporting jobs.

For too long, employers have been hitting their heads up against a senseless, arbitrary cap, and it’s time for it to go.

We can’t ignore how critical immigration is to every aspect of London life. Think about a typical working day in the capital. Drop the kids off at nursery. Grab a coffee before jumping on the tube. At lunch, pop out for a sandwich. Nursery calls, your child has fallen and you take them to A&E for a check-up. Get home, slump on the sofa and use online banking to pay a bill. At every stage, the work of immigrants is fuelling life in our city.

We need a fair and managed immigration system, with the right controls, that enables employers to access talent from around the globe – both high and low-skilled. Otherwise, we risk London grinding to a halt.


Read more: Major report recommends end to migration cap for highly skilled workers

Steven Woolfe, independent MEP and president of the Blue Wave Conservative Movement, says NO.

In the opening sequence to every episode of The Simpsons, Bart used to scribble a repeated message on the school chalkboard. This government should scribble on theirs: “immigration matters and needs controlling”.

Poll after poll says immigration matters to the majority of the public.

It matters to those poorest in society, who are at risk of lower wages and suffer from higher house prices.

It matters to immigrants’ home countries, which lose talented members of their own population and then need others to replace them. Three million have emigrated from Poland in past few years, which recently took in 200,000 Ukrainians to fill job vacancies there.

Scrapping immigration limits signals that the government cannot meet its own targets, is embarrassed by its failure, and has lost control.

Voters will also see this as a message that controlled immigration does not matter to this government, and they will send their own message back – in lost votes.

Read more: Immigration has been at the heart of Sweden’s tech triumph

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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