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New migration rules for UK workers find few takers in fashion industry

"The report was not appreciated by the fashion industry, which warned that the sector could face staff shortages if these recommendations come into force. James Eden, Managing Director, Private White VC, employs around 80 per cent of its staff from EU as pattern-cutters and machinists. The brand recruits both skilled and non-skilled workers, and any obstacle to stop this would be a matter of great concern to it."

 

New migration rules for UK workers find few takers in fashion industry 002The UK Migration Advisory Committee’, recently, published the EEA migration in the UK: Final report. The report recommended easier migration rules for higher-skilled workers to the UK. At the same time, it also recommended certain restrictions for lower-skilled workers.

Report disappoints apparel industry

The report was not appreciated by the fashion industry, which warned that the sector could face staff shortages if these recommendations come into force. James Eden, Managing Director, Private White VC, employs around 80 per cent of its staff from EU as pattern-cutters and machinists. The brand recruits both skilled and non-skilled workers, and any obstacle to stop this would be a matter of great concern to it.

Adam Mansell, Chief Executive, UK Fashion and Textile Association, also expressed his disappointment with theNew migration rules for UK workers find few takers in fashion industry 001 recommendation. He believes the country needs to attract the brightest and the best talent. This includes sewing machinist, pattern-cutter or weaver. The existing visa scheme for non-EU national jobs does not include the highly skilled workers. The EU should formulate a new visa system that recognises a highly skilled sample machinist on par with the designer.

Skilled labour shortage forces companies to recruit from new countries. Schools and colleges currently do not focus on manufacturing as a career. As a result, the industry is experiencing a limited pool of home-grown skilled manufacturing talent. This, in turn, is forcing the companies to recruit from countries such as Poland, Romania and Hungary.

Migration rules to negatively impact consumers

Jenny Holloway, Chief Executive at London manufacturer Fashion Enter, expressed doubts about Migration Committee recognising the skills of the EU machinists. Reiterating the need for a pipeline of experienced and skilled workers, she urged the officials to be industry-focused and create a benchmark for higher skills. She urged the Education & Skills Funding Agency to release more Adult Education Budget funds to allow upskilling of these machinists in the UK.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC also believes that restricting the migration system would negatively impact consumers. She urged the government to publish the details of new system to ensure consumers and businesses are not adversely affected. In March 2017, recruitment website Indeed Analysed Office for National Statistics data and found that of the around 1 million jobs created in the UK since 2008 – 44.3 per cent of all new jobs – had been filled by people who were born in another EU country.

 
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