Britain needs more migrants to avoid “catastrophic consequences” on its economy post Brexit, a UK think-tank said in its report today. Global Future analysed employment and related economic data for ‘The Case of Immigration’ report to conclude that the Conservative party-led government’s target of cutting net migration to the “tens of thousands” immediately or in the long-term is based on an outdated and backward looking view of policy.
“The UK is close to full employment, has an ageing population and low productivity growth. These factors make immigration an essential ingredient of a successful economy looking ahead,” the report said.
“Global Future’s top-down economic view is that a net migration figure well in excess of 200,000 will be needed long into the future to avoid catastrophic consequences for the economy,” it added.
A separate analysis of different sectors of the economy reveals that structural and demographic changes mean that many are already on a labour shortage cliff-edge. This bottom-up view confirms that a net migration figure in excess of 200,000 will be needed to avoid collapse of whole sectors, as well as to alleviate the crisis in public services such as Social Care and the state-funded National Health Service (NHS), the think tank warned.
“Quite simply, we believe that at a time of full employment, the UK cannot ignore the benefits that immigration confers in terms of tackling chronically low productivity growth and the consequences of a rapidly ageing UK domestic population,” the group said.
The report’s findings come a day after the Conservative party released its election manifesto for the June 8 poll, once again promising to cut net migration down to the tens of thousands. “It is right that we want to bring net migration down to sustainable levels because of the impact uncontrolled migration has on people and public services,” said British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Her party plans to bring in a host of new measures to clamp down on migrants, including doubling of the “skills charge” to make it extremely expensive for UK companies to hire immigrant workers.
Global Future calls on the government to give priority to clarifying the position of EU nationals post-Brexit in order to prevent an unwanted exodus from the UK as it negotiates its exit from the European Union. It also believes setting artificial targets for net migration does not serve any purpose.
Politicians and political parties in this General Election should have the courage to speak out and make the positive case for case for net migration to continue at a level of at least 200,000 people a year, the report concluded.