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Business Friendly Immigration System Crucial says Black Country Chamber

Black Country businesses from a range of sectors have called for a sensible, business-friendly post-Brexit immigration system. As phase two of the Brexit negotiations continue, Black Country Chamber of Commerce members, in line with the British Chambers of Commerce, have renewed their call for practical solutions to questions over immigration. The Hospitality sector, the Higher Education sector, and Manufacturing and Engineering sectors have all been vocal about the importance of further business consultation.

As a Chamber, we have had regular policy discussions with members since the referendum and are aware that EU migrants are employed at all levels in businesses across the region. There are concerns from members that the fall in value of the pound, combined with a more hostile environment in the UK towards EU workers may lead to more severe skills shortages.

Corin Crane, Chief Executive of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, commented: “The West Midlands manufacturing sector has an EU-born workforce of 14%, 4% above the national average. Therefore, the needs of the economy in the region are dependent on access to the EU-born talent pool. Lower qualification attainment in the Black Country has also added to the pressure for businesses to look to Europe to fill vacancies, having exhausted their local skills pipeline.

“Although members are supportive of changes to technical education and developments in onshoring, they are acutely aware that these are long-term solutions and business needs short-term guarantees alongside any education policy changes.”

Commenting on the need for a sensible post-Brexit immigration system, Christopher Desira, Director at Seraphus, said: “The EU and UK published the joint Draft Withdrawal Agreement on 19th March 2018, setting out how EU citizens' rights will be protected after the end of the transition period on 31st December 2020.

“In addition, the Home Office have been heavily investing in a system that will implement the terms of the agreement for EU citizens lawfully residing in the UK before the end of this transition period.

“With indications coming from the UK Government that there will be, in addition to this settled status process, a registration system, are we seeing the shaping of the post-Brexit immigration system for EU citizens?”

As a Chamber, we will continue to work closely with the British Chambers of Commerce and other strategic partners, including local LEPs, to help lobby for the region’s businesses.

To register your free place for our Brexit: Leading The Way event, taking place on 26th April as part of the Black Country Business Festival, please visit bcbf.ticketleap.com/brexit-leading-the-way.

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