HR Rebecca Smith · 28 October 2015
Martha Lane Fox among leading entrepreneurs warning prime minister to rethink immigration proposals
Leading entrepreneurs including Lastminute.com founder and chairman of the sharing economy trade body SEUK and Love Home Swap co-founderdebbie Wosskow have warned the prime minister his planned immigration restrictions could hurt UK startups. In an open letter, numerous leading business people including the founders of Crowdcube, JustPark TransferWise, Lasminute.com, Zopa, Citymapper and Shazam, have said curbing the number of skilled workers entering the UK will hinder their growth and have a knock-on effect on the economy. Some 230 technology startups and investors have put their names to the letter, saying they represent a cross-section of the UK’s digital startup and scale-up ecosystem? and askdavid Cameron to reconsider plans to bring in more restrictions on skilled migration, stating it would hurt the UK’s digital economy. The UK’s digital economy is currently the largest and fastest-growing of the G20, expected to represent 12 per cent of the UK’s GDP in 2016. The letter, which The Telegraph has in full, pointed out the UK had become a global tech hub thanks in aprt to startup founders, investors and employees from across the globe, including many of us who were not born in Britain but choose to invest our time and talents here. After the general election Cameron outlined plans to ‘significantly reduce? the number of skilled workers coming to Britain from outside Europe. He proposed new restrictions on work visas, as well as a higher salary threshold before people were allowed into the UK. Home secretary Theresa May had asked the government’s Migration Advisory Committee to come up with firm proposals by the end of 2015. Total net migration for 2014 reached 318, 000, nearing its 2005 peak, though the government claimed it still wanted to get numbers below 100, 000. Cameron said: In the past it has been frankly too easy for some businesses to bring in workers from overseas rather than to take the long term decision to train our workforce here at home. Wosskow though, raised concerns about the idea of raising the minimum salary threshold so the Tier 2 system of skilled work visas, used by numerous tech startups to bring in overseas talent, could only apply to higher-level positions.
ABOUT THE EXPERTRebecca Smith
Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.