The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has welcomed Home Secretary Amber Rudd's recent decision to commission the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to evaluate migration impacts on the UK economy
The MAC is "an independent, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues".
BCC director general, Adam Marshall, said: "We welcome the Home Secretary's decision to commission rigorous and independent analysis to inform the shape of our future immigration system. Business communities across the UK tell us that immigration rules need to be based on an objective look at economic trends and needs, which are better evaluated by experts on the MAC, rather then politicians or commentators."
Marshall believes that future changes to the UK immigration system should be shaped by "firm evidence, input from employers, and a clear understanding of the different requirements facing each region and nation". He continued: "While businesses are committed to filling vacancies locally wherever they can, they will still need access to both EU and global candidates with a range of skills in the future."
Marshall also welcomed the Home Secretary's reassurances to EU nationals and their employers that any significant changes to the immigration rules for EU citizens will take place in "an orderly fashion over time". He commented: "Businesses need clear information to support their existing employees - and to know, right now, who they can hire with confidence over the coming years.
"The Home Secretary has given some important reassurances for EU nationals working [for] UK businesses, and for those businesses considering hiring EU nationals in the immediate future. Her department now needs to work with employers to get the detail right, and ensure that EU nationals do not face complex administrative processes to confirm their status here in the UK."
Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), believes a phased introduction to a new immigration system will be welcomed by many small businesses as a "sign of much needed stability". He said: "A transitional period, after we leave the EU, is a sensible approach and will avoid any sudden cliff edge where small firms will be locked out of accessing the labour and skills they need.
"A sufficient transitional period would provide smaller firms with enough time to prepare for any incoming immigration system."
Cherry said skills and labour from the EU play an important role in many small businesses, with one in five small employers having EU workers. "It's vital for the growth and survival of smaller firms that the new system is easy to navigate and affordable. The MAC needs to engage with the small business community and FSB to address the concerns of small employers and the self-employed."
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