Transport industry leaders have been universal in their criticism of the government’s migration advisory committee (MAC) recommendations.
According to the committee, free movement from the EU should end after Brexit, with the UK looking to adopt a Canada-style system instead where there is no preferential access to the British labour market for EU or citizens of any other country.
Intended to advise ministers how to proceed after Brexit, the MAC was set up by Amber Rudd.
The Chairman of the MAC, Professor Alan Manning, said it won’t recommend free movement as a policy after Brexit, and instead recommends a system that makes it easier for higher skilled workers to come to the UK than lower skilled contemporaries.
However, this has angered transport industry leaders, with the Road Haulage Association labelling the report “ignorant and elitist.”
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive, said: “We need an immigration policy across all skill levels. It is about what our businesses need.
“The idea that only high skilled immigration should be allowed is both ignorant and elitist.”
The disappointment from transport industry leaders continues with the Freight Transport Association (FTA), whose Head of Skills, Sally Gilson, commenting that the report “actively diminishes” the role of lower skilled migrants, whose contributions are crucial for the sector and the wider economy.
This, the Association said, is despite repeated warnings about how vital these employees are.
Ms Gilson said: “The MAC report totally fails to recognise, and actively diminishes, the role of lower skilled migrants within the UK economy, which is hugely disappointing from a logistics point of view.
“The job roles covered by these workers are often based in areas of low unemployment where competition for workers is already high, so Britain’s supply chain could easily be at risk if they are forced to return to their home countries.”