The latest immigration figures, published on Thursday by the Office for National Statistics, show that annual net migration to Britain remains way above government targets, despite falling by 9,000 to 327,000 in the 12 months to March 2016.
Commenting on the figures Adam Marshall, Acting Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“While businesspeople understand the importance of managing migration levels into the UK, there must be no knee-jerk crackdown that leaves businesses unable to get specific skills from around the globe – or measures that hobble our education sector, which is one of the UK’s export successes.
“Since the referendum many firms have expressed concern over the future status of their existing EU workforce. These hardworking people are absolutely vital to the success of businesses, and must be retained. Theresa May should reassure them as soon as possible that they will have the right to remain in the UK, to provide much-needed certainty both for EU employees and UK employers.
“The government must also clarify how new EU hires will be treated, as many businesses also say they are uncertain about whether the people they wish to recruit will be able to continue working with them in future.”