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Johnson to scrap May’s £30,000 threshold for immigrants


Immigrant labour is critical to British industry

Startup supporters have welcomed a decision to scrap plans for a £30,000 salary threshold on migrants.

The UK Cabinet has accepted the need for greater flexibility to enable companies to meet demand for skilled workers into Britain after Brexit.

Under proposals to be published next week, the government will instead propose an Australia-style points system.

The earnings threshold was part of former PM Theresa May’s attempts to control migration.

The idea prompted complaints from business, academia and agriculture on the grounds that it would prevent them recruiting skilled migrant workers such as lab technicians and fruit pickers.

Philip Salter, founder of The Entrepreneurs Network, said that if the change is correct it would help Britain’s start ups.

“Many startups need access to foreign-born workers with specific skills in order to grow their business,” he said.

“Startups have limited funds, so often offer employees a lower salary in exchange for equity and the opportunity of being an early employee in a potential scale-up.”

However, he said more work needs to be done to offset the negative consequences of ending freedom of movement.

49% of the UK’s fastest-growing startups have at least one foreign-born co-founder – nearly half of which are from the EU

– Philip Salter, The Entrepreneurs Network

“For example, the current Innovator Visa isn’t fit for purpose – only 2 visas were granted in the first three months of the scheme. As a result, we don’t have a working route for entrepreneurs to start their business in the UK.

“As our research shows, while just 14% of UK residents are foreign-born, 49% of the UK’s fastest-growing startups have at least one foreign-born co-founder – nearly half of which are from the EU.

“Nine of the UK’s 14 startup unicorns have at least one foreign-born co-founder. And the fast-growing immigrant founded companies of the Top 100 have attracted a combined £3.7bn in investment.”

Diane Abbott, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “It is not surprising there is disarray in the new Tory government over their threatened immigration policy.

“We always said their plans were unworkable, as many employers in the private and public sector need what the government insists on calling ‘low-skilled workers’.

“But all workers need decent pay, reasonable conditions, a right to a family life and trade union rights, wherever they are from. We will continue to fight for them.”

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