Intra-company transfers should be excluded from the government’s migration limits, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The society is concerned that capping the number of highly skilled individuals coming into the country could negatively impact UK competitiveness and the economic recovery. SMMT warns that global companies, such as those represented in the UK automotive sector, will be adversely affected if intra-company transfers are limited through caps, lottery allocations or more stringent eligibility requirements.
It says these measures will “harm the operations of where knowledge and skills transfer is essential in contributing to low carbon growth, and could diminish the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business”.
Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive, said: “Highly skilled employees transferred to work within the UK automotive industry are essential to maintaining and improving our global productivity and competitiveness.
“The inclusion of intra-company transfers [in immigration schemes] could impact on the attractiveness of the UK as a location for inward investment and undermine the UK’s role in an increasingly global economy.”
In July, an interim cap on non-EU immigrants was introduced which will limit workers to 24,100 from June 2010 to April 2011. The government plans to make it permanent.
It will be achieved partly by raising the eligibility requirements under the points-based system, but also by limiting the number of sponsorship certificates for tier-two skilled workers, which is the category intra-company transferees fall under.
The SMMT has written to immigration minister Damian Green MP to raise its concerns.