07 January 2019
DUP Leader Arlene Foster and MEP Diane Dodds today met with representatives of the business community in Northern Ireland to discuss the impact of the migration White Paper published by the Home Office in December.
The meeting is part of an ongoing engagement between the party and the business community as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Speaking after the meeting they said,
“We have been in contact with the Home Secretary over several months and made representations in advance of the Government White Paper on migration. Today provided a further opportunity to engage with the business community and ensure their views are heard.
The White Paper delivers some positives for industry including a consultation on the £30,000 salary threshold, a review of the shortage occupation list for Northern Ireland and a recognition of the unique position Northern Ireland has in sharing a land border post Brexit with a Member State of the European Union. Our clear priority is that we have control of our borders but on a basis which allows access in recognising shortages in our labour market.
Appropriate future access to low-skilled labour in Northern Ireland is important, particularly given the potential for local firms to be placed at a competitive disadvantage to those in the Republic of Ireland where there are not similar labour market constraints.
The Migration Advisory Committee report has followed a very rigid process in producing their report. Many of the business organisations have expressed concern that evidence they have used to justify their decisions is taken on a UK average masking issues not just in Northern Ireland but in other UK regions. We will continue to work with business in Northern Ireland to ensure the Home Secretary is aware of these concerns and press for appropriate solutions to be put in place.
It is clear that there is common accord across all regions of the UK on these important issues in particular the £30,000 salary threshold which many see as being far too London centric and not reflective of wage levels in local economies. We want to see an immigration system that is reflective of the needs of the whole of the UK allowing all regions to prosper.
We support the business community’s call for greater clarity in resect of when these proposals will come into effect and most importantly for the needs of Northern Ireland to be heard by the Migration Advisory Committee.”