There is little doubt that one of the driving forces behind the successful campaign to leave the EU was the fear of uncontrolled immigration with a ready audience for arguments about migrant workers taking jobs from locals.
The post-Brexit debate has however revealed that the issues are far more complex than the referendum soundbites indicated and the Government has a difficult task as it seeks to balance business needs for skilled workers with demands to drastically reduce migrant numbers.
A new report from the Institute of Directors (IoD) and mi-HUB has added to the argument by reminding ministers of the need to back “job-creating migrant entrepreneurs”.
Available at www.iod.com, “Migrant entrepreneurship in the UK: Celebrating the benefits to Britain” reveals that the majority of those interviewed — foreign entrepreneurs now leading companies — either employ native-born workers or are planning to do so in the near future.
Helping these migrant-led business to create even more jobs makes sense, the IoD argues, and any post-Brexit policies designed to restrict or complicate visas would have a damaging long-term effect on the UK economy.
The study found that there were particular challenges for entrepreneurs from oversees, including their qualifications not being recognised, not being able to transfer their credit history to the UK, difficulty in accessing finance and lack of support networks.
IoD Director General Simon Walker said: “For all the talk of migrants ‘taking our jobs,’ it’s more likely that they will be creating them. As we move towards our departure from the EU and rewrite our immigration policy, ensuring that we are still open to those who want to grow their businesses in the UK will be absolutely crucial.”