East Anglia: Migrant workers ‘plug skills gap’

NEARLY two-fifths of East Anglian bosses rely on migrant workers to plug gaps in their workforce, despite the rising levels of unemployment in the region, according to a new survey.

The latest Close Business Barometer, commissioned by Close Invoice Finance, found that of the 39% cent of employers who hire migrant workers, 45% hire them because they are best for the job.

The findings reflect a recent poll of firms by Young Enterprise, which found employers believe a growing number of British students are entering the workforce without the necessary skills, prompting many of them to turn to workers from overseas.

Rob Harris, local head of Close Invoice Finance, said: “Our survey shows that, in contrast to comments made by the current Government, migrant workers play, and will continue to play, a vital role in the UK economy.

“British companies need to attract the brightest and best talent in order to compete in the globalised economy and as our findings show, it isn’t about where the person comes from, it’s whether or not they have the skills to do the job.

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“In the current economic climate businesses are struggling on many levels, not least in terms of cash flow, and migrant workers offer many sectors a level of workforce flexibility to enable them to survive.

“At this crucial time any attempts by government to cap the numbers of workers available could add even more challenges to business.”

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