CIPD urges UK to provide more temporary visas to EU workers as “safety valve”

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), a human resources trade body, says that the UK should temporarily allow more young people from the EU to participate in its labor markets to fix staffing shortages.
calendar icon 20 October 2021
clock icon 2 minute read

Reuters reports that the call for increased access to EU labor comes as multiple firms and sectors across the UK face critical staff shortages.

The CIPD says that the labor crunch facing the UK agriculture, hauling and service industries pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it is unlikely that it will be resolved once the British economy returns to a more normal footing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson this month promised to do away with what he called “the old failed model of low wages, low skills, supported by uncontrolled immigration”, and promised a high-wage, high-productivity economy thanks to Brexit.

But his government has had to offer emergency visas to EU workers to address acute shortages of truck drivers, poultry workers and butchers.

The CIPD said the government should allow EU citizens to apply for Britain’s youth mobility visa, which offers two-year work permits to 18-30 year-olds from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labor market adviser at the CIPD, said research by the body showed that too many employers in low-paying sectors had focused on pushing down the cost of their workforce, rather than investing in staff to boost productivity.

“However, changes in business behavior, people management capability and investment priorities will take time, time that firms who are struggling with acute skill and labor shortages now simply don’t have,” Davies said.

“In response, there is a strong case for an immediate immigration safety valve to address the rising labor supply challenges some employers are facing.”

The CIPD also called for an overhaul of the government’s apprenticeship levy to make it more flexible and for £60 million ($83 million) to fund a business improvement service to help more firms invest in new technology and training.

($1 = 0.7255 pounds)

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Source: Reuters

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