More skilled migrant workers must be admitted to the UK to tackle the country’s economic problems. That is the opinion of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the largest employers’ organization in the United Kingdom, which is increasing the pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
“We have an immigration system that is far too nervous about bringing in the skills we need,” said CBI director general Tony Danker in an interview with Bloomberg Television. According to him, the shortage of labour leads to more stagflation. This is a situation in which high inflation slows economic growth, and unemployment remains high.
Sunak is reportedly considering lifting many trade barriers with the European Union. One of the options would be for the UK to move closer to a relationship with Europe, like Switzerland, as The Times wrote last weekend. Switzerland has some form of access to the European single market but must accept conditions in return, including the admission of workers from EU countries. Payments also go from Switzerland to Brussels.
According to the British newspaper, this is a course that is sensitive to the right of Sunak’s own Conservative Party. Any approach requiring the UK to conform to EU rules to gain trade benefits is deemed wholly unacceptable by the party’s strongest Brexit supporters.
Danker’s proposal could, therefore, immediately count on criticism from that quarter. Former minister Simon Clarke said on Twitter he hoped this was not considered, and former UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said, “this level of treachery will never be forgiven”.