September 22, 2010
Posted by on
Once again, on the Today programme this morning (7.20am) they had someone from PwC talking about the immigration cap and why it’s a bad thing. Never mind that most of the UK’s immigration comes from Europe and there’s nothing anyone can do about that, and that the numbers the cap is based on are from last year when – hello! – we were in a recession and nobody was hiring. Yet again the guest was asked why major global organisations can’t just recruit the people they want from the UK or Europe.
Because. Dumbass. If you want someone with experience of the North American markets to come and manage something quite important in your HQ, the HQ you located in London because of all the perks offered by the UK government (as well as its convenient timezone and English language, but let’s not kid ourselves that those wouldn’t be overcome if, say, Germany or Toronto had proved more economically viable), it’s quite likely that you’re going to need someone from North America. Or an expert in mining is likely to come from Australia. If you’re a massive global company, you need a range of experience and expertise, and you have to gather that in from the places it’s in – whether that involves relocating someone from your Tokyo office for two years, or nicking someone else’s executive.
PwC has been given an allocation of 50 visas for this year. Do you know how big a company PwC is? They employ 161,000 people across 154 countries. Some of those people will be quite useful to second to the HQ to share their knowledge and best practice across the entire network. They need 63 extension visas for the people they’ve got here right now. Limiting them to 50 for the year will seriously affect how they do business. How are they supposed to function as a credible global company if they can’t employ people who understand all parts of the world at their heart? And how are companies likely to react to this? By quickly moving some of their vital functions to other parts of their network, where they can employ the people they want, leaving even fewer jobs for the locals. Like me.
I believe in free movement of people anyway, but there’s a serious economic argument to be had here about why the immigration cap is a stupid policy, born out of stupid pandering to a fearful electorate and implemented in a way that is stupid because it doesn’t even come close to affecting what it promised it would – but rather than address that and have a grown-up discussion about it in public, the government are pressing ahead with it.
Oh, and Nick Clegg – it was you who brought up, in the leadership debates, the fact that an immigration cap couldn’t work. You predicted this. You spineless fucker.