Thursday, September 26, 2013

Labour’s link between immigration and apprenticeships

 I am no lover of Labour but I am also no lover of Cameron/Clegg Coalition. So I was hoping that Labour would come with some ideas but NO they are going back in time when Labour was a neo Communist party

In his hour-long speech yesterday, he set out NO plans to cut the deficit, NO plans to secure the recovery and NO plans to fix the welfare system.

Labour still want more spending, more borrowing and more debt – exactly what got us into a mess in the first place. And it’s hardworking people who would pay the price through higher taxes, higher mortgage rates and higher bills.

Interesting article from Migration Watch

September 24, 2013
Labour’s link between immigration and apprenticeships
1.Labour’s scheme to trade work permits for new apprenticeships faces practical difficulties. Work permits are nowadays issued for higher level positions so apprentices would not be immediate replacements. There would be no impact on low skilled migration which seems to have been the context for this announcement.
2. On the Andrew Marr show on 22 September Ed Miliband outlined some plans for Labour’s immigration policy. He said that within a year [of forming a government] he would legislate for an immigration Bill which gave “secure control of our borders” and would focus on cutting down on abuse and on the requirement for companies who recruit from outside the EU to create an apprenticeship place for every non-EU worker they hired.  Ed Miliband stated that he wanted to reduce low skilled immigration and as a result reduce overall immigration.  
3. Apprenticeship numbers reached a low of around 50,000 in 1990. Since then successive governments have been rebuilding the programme. Anyone aged 16 or over and not in full-time education can apply for an apprenticeship. They combine recognised training with a paid job and cover a large number of roles in a wide range of industries, from engineering to financial advice, veterinary services and nursing to accountancy[1].
4. There are now around 250,000 people under 25 starting apprenticeships each year and another 180,000 over 25s (the government expanded the apprenticeship scheme to all ages in 2009). 
Labour’s Proposal to link non-EU immigration to apprenticeship places
5. Ed Miliband indicated that companies will be able to recruit non-EU workers (within a cap) but for each worker they recruit they will have to create an apprenticeship place, so as to reduce their requirement for non-EU workers in the future.
6. The shadow immigration minister has since suggested that this will lead to an additional 100,000 apprenticeships being created[2].  It is difficult to see how this figure is arrived at.  Employers recruit non-EU workers directly through Tier 2 (General) of the Points Based System which allows employers to recruit new staff for graduate level occupations. It is limited to 20,700 work permits a year although in 2012 only 9,420 were taken up.  Tier 2 (Intra-company transfers) allows employers to relocate existing employees to the UK. In 2012 there were 30,000 ICT visas issued. The shadow minster had stated these will be included[3] but has now said he will consult on the matter. [4]  Given that some Indian computer companies bring in several thousand ICT workers each year this will have a big impact on the IT sector, although one that may be welcomed by many UK IT workers. (It is not clear, however, whether ICTs would be also included the proposed ‘cap’ on non-EU workers).   The total must therefore embrace several years worth of new apprenticeships.
7. There is also the base line issue.  Many companies that employ migrant workers already offer apprenticeships.  As their present plans are unknown, it will be difficult to identify new apprenticeship places.   As a result, implementation is likely to be complex and bureaucratic.
8. The logic for the policy idea appears to be that, in return for companies being able to recruit the non-EU workers they currently need, they will undertake to use the apprenticeship scheme to reduce their reliance on them in the future – “to train up the next generation”.  However, it not clear how much overlap there is between the roles that apprentices will go on to take and the type of non-EU worker that companies recruit.  Since the Occupation levels for non-EU workers were raised in 2011 (with the effect that care workers and curry chefs were excluded) non-EU work permits have been restricted to work skilled to a ‘graduate’ level (NQF level 6).    This scheme, therefore, may not in fact train up replacements.   Nor is it relevant to reducing the need for ‘low-skilled’ immigration.
‘Low-skilled Immigration’
9. The ideas outlined to reduce ‘abuse’ such as enforcing the minimum wage and tackling recruitment agencies that only advertise in other EU countries are useful steps but it is not clear that they will have much impact on the scale of immigration.

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