The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has responded to the Queen’s Speech by calling for access to skilled professionals “from Europe and beyond.”
Following December’s general election, the government set out its legislative aims in the Queen’s Speech prior to Christmas, with more than 30 different bills covered.
Employment and immigration were both on the agenda; Brexit will ultimately see the end to free movement of people from the EU, and the Queen’s Speech saw this commitment confirmed, as an ‘Australian-style’ points-based immigration system is set to be introduced from January 2021.
It is expected that priority will be given to skilled workers with a job offer, while visa schemes will be introduced for new migrants to fill shortages.
Tania Bowers, General Counsel at APSCo, said access to skilled professionals must remain, and called for a “dedicated visa route.”
She said: “We welcome the introduction of a National Skills Fund. However, while a commitment to ‘growing our own’ talent will help to mitigate against talent gaps in the future, in the interim, access to skilled professionals from Europe and beyond must be maintained.
“While the speech underlined a commitment to a ‘modern, fair, points-based immigration system’, Tier 2 Visas will continue to require a job offer.
“APSCo maintains that there must be a dedicated visa route as part of the future skills-based immigration system, through which highly skilled contractors from overseas can come to the UK and support British businesses.
“The abolition of the previous cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas, coupled with a new fast-track immigration scheme for top scientists and researchers, however, should help alleviate skills shortages in some of the most talent-short sectors.”
Elsewhere, the Association welcomed the commitment to clamp down on late payments, and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner.
They also responded positively to the news that the government will prioritise investment in infrastructure, science research and skills, to ‘unleash’ UK productivity.