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Many British Employers Are Hiring Refugees

Ukraine and Hong Kong come out on top ...


Posted by Roger Eddowes on 14/09/2023 @ 8:00AM

A recent survey conducted by the Social Market Foundation (SMF) has shed light on the United Kingdom's approach to immigration and its impact on the labour market ...

The UK is open to integrating new arrivals into the economy, but there is a need for a more flexible and responsive immigration system!

The UK is open to integrating new arrivals into the economy, but there is a need for a more flexible and responsive immigration system!

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The survey, which involved over 2,000 HR managers, revealed that 19% of organisations had employed at least one Ukrainian national in 2022. Additionally, 12% had hired a Hong Kong British national, and an equal percentage had employed a refugee.

This survey was part of an SMF report on immigration and employment, which suggests a significant overhaul of the UK's migration system. Instead of focusing on specific occupation groups, the report proposes granting work visas based on wage levels!

Official statistics indicate that the UK saw over 154,000 arrivals from Ukraine and 52,000 British nationals from Hong Kong in the past year. Additionally, around 6,000 refugees are resettled in the UK annually.

The SMF report highlights the need for a more streamlined approach to work visas. The current system, which requires a minimum salary level of £26,200 and is limited to specific occupations, has been deemed too restrictive. The report suggests replacing this with a far simpler rule: anyone meeting the salary threshold should be granted entry.

The existing system has been criticised for potentially perpetuating regional wage disparities. Allowing employers to lower wages to fill vacancies may inadvertently suppress wages in areas that need economic upliftment. Businesses in labour-short regions should be able to access overseas labour, provided they meet the salary requirements.

The report also recommends reducing the cost of sponsoring work visas, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, and in targeted areas. The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC), a levy on employers hiring overseas labour, which raises £350 million annually, has come under scrutiny. This needs greater transparency in how these funds are utilised or for the charge to be abolished altogether.

Don't get me wrong; short-term access to overseas labour is not the sole solution to domestic labour shortages, but it is a crucial part of the solution!

The UK is open to integrating new arrivals into the economy, but there is a need for a more flexible and responsive immigration system that benefits both the country and its new residents.

Until next time ...

Business Godparent


Would you like to know more?

If anything I've written in this blog post resonates with you and you'd like to discover more about this report or how your business can employ refugees, it may be a great idea to call me on 01908 774320 and let's see how I can help.

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About Roger Eddowes ...


Roger trained at Edward Thomas Peirson & Sons in Market Harborough before working at Hartwell & Co, followed by Chancery, as a partner. He started Essendon Accounts and Tax with Helen Beaumont in 2014 as a general practitioner with a hands-on approach.

Roger loves getting his hands dirty, working with emerging, small-to-medium and family businesses to ensure they receive the best possible accountancy advice. Roger utilises an extensive network of business contacts to leverage the best guidance and practical solutions.