British bosses want “more migrants”, Rishi Sunak tells them

OLI SCARFF / AFP UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gestures as he delivers a speech at the Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) annual conference at the Vox Conference Center in Birmingham on November 21, 2022. – Britain’s recent austerity budget could avert a deeper recession, but the government must focus more on growth to improve the country’s long-term prospects, the CBI will say. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

OLI SCARFF / AFP

Rishi Sunak speaking at the UK Chiefs Conference on 21 November 2022.

UNITED KINGDOM – Is Rishi Sunak already alienating British bosses? As they call for more migrants to meet Britain’s severe labor shortage, the Prime Minister assured that his priority was to fight illegal immigration during a speech at the opening of the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) on Monday 21 November.

“The country’s priority for immigration is to fight illegal immigration”assured Birmingham Rishi Sunak, who again defined himself as an ardent supporter of Brexit, the British exit from the European Union, which took effect at the beginning of 2021.

Shortly before the prime minister, his immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, had already closed the door on easing the rules, arguing that companies should first train Britons to fill the gaps.. “Our ambition is to reduce net migration”, he pointed out in an interview on SkyNews.

“I voted for Brexit. I believe and know that Brexit can and does provide significant benefits and opportunities for the country.”added Rishi Sunak, referring to Britain’s resumption of immigration controls after leaving the EU, or the trade deals signed with other countries.

Sunak wants to attract “the best” migrants

But he said to himself, unequivocally” in favor of a migration system, i.e attractive » for applicants for immigration, the best and the brightest”. Earlier, Rishi Sunak had delivered a rousing plea for innovation, pledging to do everything to revive it in the UK when, according to him, it has slowed down too much since the financial crisis.

“The more we innovate, the more we want to grow, and we have a plan for both.”promised the prime minister during a speech that was received rather gently by the audience of participants.

However, in response to the Prime Minister’s remarks, Tony Danker, the director-general of the CBI, the country’s largest employers’ organisation, called for more detail on this plan: “Companies are investing right now and need to know more about the government’s targets, as soon as possible”.

Earlier, Tony Danker had opened the CBI conference, which will last two days and is the first face-to-face since the pandemic, recalling that the UK was “ in stagflation – hit by runaway inflation and negative growth”.

Britain is fighting recession

Indeed, Britain has entered recession and its gross domestic product is expected to fall by a further 1.4% next year, the OBR, the government budget forecasting body, predicts. Inflation is at 11%, a record for four decades.

“The only thing holding up growth is the increase in working hours thanks to increased immigration”assured Tony Danker in front of a room full of business executives at the Vox conference center in Birmingham.

In particular, the head of the CBI called for the relaxation of immigration rules. “ Let’s get economic migration in the areas where we won’t soon have the workers or the skills at home. On the other hand, let these visas be of fixed duration”he declared.

“Remember that GDP is a simple multiplier of two things: people and their productivity. And it’s time to be honest: We don’t have the people we need or the productivity.”he insisted.

Brexit is being questioned

Tony Danker also called on Monday to speed up the country’s international trade,” the lowest as a percentage of GDP in the G7″signs an agreement around the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol, to unlock the potential of the Brexit deal with the EU.

Last week, Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said he would see “ the vast majority” abolished customs barriers between his country and the EU, raising questions about the government’s intent among ranks of Eurosceptic conservatives.

The current economic and financial difficulties in the United Kingdom bring more and more criticism of the effects of Brexit to the fore. With many business leaders calling for the easing of immigration rules to address labor shortages, the OBR and Bank of England said last week that Brexit had had a significant negative impact on the country’s trade.

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