How can we best manage legal migration to fill skills gaps?

January 12, 2019 4:14 PM
By Cllr Karen Chilvers
Border control

Members of the EU enjoy the freedom to live, work and study across 28 countries

Currently, we have an excellent system of managing legal migration with our closest neighbours. "Free movement" gives us the ability to tap in to a workforce with few barriers, allowing people from 28 countries, including the UK, to work, marry, live and study across Europe.

It has provided us with doctors, nurses, scientists, teachers, fruit pickers, hospitality workers, cleaners and more for the last 40+ years and given UK residents the opportunity to exercise the same rights.

Unfortunately, it will all stop in March of next year if Brexit goes ahead.

We already know that the claim on the big red bus was a lie and with around 100,000 vacancies in the NHS alone there is already a massive skills gap in the UK and we can't magic up the 10,000 doctors and 35,000 nurses needed in four months. Being able to recruit staff from 27 other countries was of considerable benefit to us. So, rather than immigrants "coming over here stealing our jobs" and "putting a drain on the NHS", it has become apparent that they were staffing it and, through their taxes, helping to fund it.

The Lib Dems have been tirelessly making the positive case for immigration and the significant contribution a diverse workforce makes to the economy. In a recent statement, the Scottish Lib Dems noted that each EU citizen working in Scotland contributes over £10,000 in taxes and £34,000 in GDP, this replicated all over Great Britain.

If you know a Spanish doctor, an Irish nurse or an Italian waiter prepare to say goodbye. This country is going to change from the rich diverse nation we celebrated in 2012 in Stratford and become sicker, poorer and isolated.

This wasn't what people voted for. Please support a #PeoplesVote on the final deal.

This article appeared in the Talking Point section of the Brentwood Gazette in November 2018.