Concerns have been raised following a comment made by David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Question Time.  The Prime Minister was asked about inward investment and his response suggested that larger firms would be left without the cap on intra-company transfers.

He said: “As we look through the last Government’s points system and immigration policy, we really do believe that it will not be difficult to achieve much better immigration control without disadvantaging business.  For example, things such as inter-company transfers should not be included in what we are looking at.  I do not think we will have a problem.  Given the very broken system that we inherited, there should be no problems improving it.”

Criticisms have come thick and fast from many bodies following this revelation.  In particular, the Forum of Private Business pointed to the disadvantage that such an exemption would place on SMEs.

Speaking to Shout 99, their spokesman, Phil McCabe, stated: “We appreciate that immigration is a sensitive issue, particularly in the current climate of high unemployment and strained public services.  However, if the Government is going to restrict economic migration, it should do it in a way which affects businesses of all sizes equally.  To give huge multi-national corporations another competitive advantage over small businesses strikes us as being completely unfair.”

Mr McCabe concluded: “While most small businesses will only ever need to source workers from within the EU, a significant number – particularly those in scientific sectors such as engineering or pharmaceuticals – need highly specialised skills which require recruitment on a global basis.  This is difficult enough already due to the number of legal requirements involved.”

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