As we await the manifestoes from the UK’s main political parties in the run up to the general election, Gordon Brown has confirmed his belief that the gap in the UK skills set should be filled by focusing on links between training the UK workforce and the points based system.

The prime minister admitted that the UK is currently failing to meet the demand for tier 2 specialist workers which includes engineers and IT workers. However, he did say that by advertising jobs locally and training IT workers in the UK, there had been a reduction in the number of migrant workers taking up these positions. In fact, this had fallen from 99000 Tier 2 workers in 2007 to 81,000 in 2008 and a further fall to 63,000 in 2009.

Mr Brown also confirmed that the new Border Agency will use improved methods to stop people at the borders including biometric visas, ID cards and electronic border controls. He also disclosed that local immigration teams will be in place by next year who will target employers suspected of employing illegal workers and undercutting minimum wage and gangmasters.

Tom Hadley, director of external relations at REC (The Recruitment & Employment Confederation) commented: “The availability of staff is crucial to the success of the recruitment industry, and the companies they supply.  If immigration is tightened up too far then the recovery could be at risk.  REC will continue to monitor the impact of immigration changes on recruitment through our specialist sector groups.

He concluded: “The continued focus on ensuring companies do not employ illegal migrants is welcomed.”

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