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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

REC responds to new statistics on UK net migration

Press releases

Construction workers on a building site

Responding to this morning’s statistics from the Office for National Statistics showing net migration to the UK in 2022, Kate Shoesmith, REC Deputy Chief Executive, said:   

“These numbers are higher for understandable reasons such as those arriving from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Hong Kong.

“But today’s statistics are a great opportunity to look again at our immigration-to-work strategy in the face of unprecedented labour and skills shortages. We should use our language, flexible labour laws and high-quality training to attract and help work-ready immigrants to fill some of the 1.7 million jobs advertised across the UK.”

Kate Shoesmith added:

“Having the right labour market activation policies – from better childcare to a more flexible and usable apprenticeship levy system - are crucial in helping us overcome labour shortages, and we need to specifically look at how you bring work-finding support together with health. NHS waiting lists are sky high and we know that sickness is a big barrier to work for many right now.

“As the REC has pointed out, the UK could leave £39 billion of prosperity on the shelf – two Elizabeth Lines, every year – unless we can tackle the structural challenges we face on productivity and a shortage on labour supply.”


Notes to editors:

A lack of significant economic growth may explain why our JobsOutlook report yesterday (Wednesday) shows employers confidence in the UK economy, and in making hiring and investment decisions, remain below pre-pandemic levels. JobsOutlook: Employer confidence in hiring bounces back – REC. May 2023

Labour Market Tracker: Demand for workers steady with almost 1.7 million job adverts across the UK – REC. May 2023

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