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Planned UK immigration rules could dent fashion sector

Published
Feb 24, 2020
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The post-Brexit changes to immigration rules that are being planned by the UK government could be bad news for garment manufacturing in Britain, analysts have said.


AFP



GlobalData warned that with EU citizens wanting to work in the UK having to meet the same criteria as non-EU workers, the new points-based system could shut out the workers the sector needs.

From January next year, low-skilled workers from the EU will be denied visas under a system aimed at attracting the "brightest and the best" from around the world.

Hannah Abdulla, Apparel Correspondent at GlobalData said: "The Home Office has already confirmed it estimates 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker routes. That could prove problematic for the UK textile manufacturing sector, particularly as it relies so heavily on eastern European workers.

“With the UK looking to grow its manufacturing capability, the latest move could result in it taking a step backwards”.

She added that one concern is the demand for a formal qualification. “There are many highly-skilled workers in the sector, such as machinists, but they don't necessarily have the formal qualifications to prove that,” she explained. “And with less than a year before the new rules come into play, UK factories are going to struggle to train up replacements in time. Ultimately, the new rules will limit the sector's growth.”

The warning echoes those given about a number of other sectors, including retail and agriculture, where the UK relies heavily on migrant labour and can’t necessarily replace that with suitably skilled workers from among its resident population.

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