Immigration policy must be evidence-based and reflect need for ‘low skilled’ workers - REC

Filed under Press release

Wednesday, 06 September 2017

A draft government paper leaked to The Guardian newspaper yesterday set out options that the government might be considering when designing the new immigration system that will come into force after the UK leaves the EU in 2019. Commenting on the importance of a new immigration system that is based on evidence and that meets business needs REC chief executive Kevin Green says:

“The UK’s flexible labour market is of huge benefit to our economy and any changes that result in severe reductions in immigration, increased hiring costs or bureaucratic burdens on employers would put that continued success at risk and make all of us worse off.

“It’s important that the government talks to recruiters and employers who understand the realities of various sectors of the labour market and that policy isn’t drafted on the basis of broad terms like ‘low skilled’ and ‘high skilled’ which can be interpreted in many different ways. Applying the criteria used in the current visa system for non-EU workers, sixty per cent of the whole UK work force would be classed as ‘low skilled’ as they earn under the qualifying threshold of £30,000. Severely limiting access to such workers from the EU would mean fewer nurses, electricians and chefs – vacancies that our members say are already hard to fill.

“This is a leaked paper with no formal policy status so we can draw no real conclusions from it. It’s at least reassuring that in this draft the government appears to be committed to engaging with business to decide the details of any new immigration system. To get the best outcome for British workers and British businesses it’s important that the government focuses on evidence-based solutions.”




Notes to editors

1. The REC has produced two reports looking at the impact of Brexit on the labour market: Building the post-Brexit immigration system: an analysis of shortages, scenarios and choices  and Managing migration in a way that supports labour market success were both published in June 2017.

2. ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings shows workers in the 60th percentile earn £27,230 annually, those in the 70th earn £32,244.

3. For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 0207 009 2157/2192 or An ISDN line is available for interviews on 0207 021 0584.

4. Jobs transform lives, which is why we are building the best recruitment industry in the world. As the professional body for recruitment we’re determined to make businesses more successful by helping them secure the people they need.  We are absolutely passionate and totally committed in this pursuit for recruiters, employers, and the people they hire.  Find out more about the Recruitment & Employment Confederation at




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