With the EU referendum fast approaching, tensions are running high in both camps about the dire consequences facing Britain – whether the country leaves or remains within the union.
The latest debate focuses on immigration. Can leaving the EU really improve the lot of those already living here – whilst maintaining the steady flow of skilled and non-skilled workers necessary to keep the economy on an even keel?
“The leave campaign is suggesting the introduction of a ‘fairer, more humane’ points-based system – similar to those used by Australia, Canada and the US,” says HCR managing director, Rob Dolbear.
“In fact, we already have this for those moving to Britain from outside of the European Union. It restricts those coming here to those who are skilled and working within ‘shortage occupations’. The system also encourages investors and business leaders to consider opportunities here.
“As things stand, the UK already welcomes workers from countries like India, the US and Pakistan through this route – and that’s more than we admit freely from within EU nations. Most recent figures suggest net annual migration from countries within the EU is at 184,000 – with 188,000 from elsewhere.
“Some voters have concerns about increased immigration from less wealthy Eastern and Southern European nations. Our media is filled with scaremongering stories about immigrants from less wealthy nations like Romania seeking to exploit the UK’s generous benefits system. But the Prime Minister has sought to address these concerns as part of his renegotiations with other member states.
“Leave campaigners believe those coming to live and work in the UK should be restricted to those deemed of value to the economy. However, any restriction of movement will make it significantly more difficult for businesses to move and relocate employees into and out of Britain.
“At HCR, we’ve managed thousands of successful employee relocations during the past 20 years – and our methods are tried and tested. We know what works well – and we are very aware of the pitfalls and the consequences of not getting it just right.
“Most importantly, we make it our business to keep up-to-date with new immigration and visa rules and regulations. These issues will prove to be more than a headache for those living and working within the EU, should the UK’s status change.
“And it’s not only the employee who suffers. Businesses take the decision to call on overseas workers because they identify a need for certain skills that they feel they cannot necessarily fulfil with employees or potential employees who are already here. At the moment, bringing workers into the UK from the EU – or vice versa – is relatively straightforward in relative terms. But an exit from the union would very likely turn this completely on its head.
“Would Brexit be a good thing for the UK and its economy as a whole? I certainly don’t think so. All eyes on 23 June…”