Daniel Zeichner MP has heavily criticised the Government’s Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill for suggestion that companies could be charged to hire skilled EU nationals under current Brexit proposals. This would hit Cambridge companies particularly hard, with many relying on EU nationals to plug the local skills gap.
The proposed £1,000 skills charge is already being brought in from April for those coming to the UK from outside the EU.
When asked about the proposals Robert Goodwill MP stated to the Lords EU Home Affairs sub-committee a similar levy for EU workers "may be something that has been suggested to us could apply".
The non-EU levy, which applies to workers in skilled employment sectors, with an exemption for PhD-level posts, aims to reduce net migration, however many Cambridge companies and support services for both universities, as well as the local NHS, are reliant on skilled employees from the EU.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “Each week we receive another headline grabbing statement without any thought for the impact on local businesses, public services and our education sector. Losing access to skilled EU staff will cost Cambridge companies dear, and as they move or fail, we will lose many jobs that local people rely on.
"And the Conservatives fail to realise is this is a two-way street; the policies aimed at EU nationals will be met with reciprocal arrangements for British people currently living and working in EU nations. It is a race to the bottom, in which everyone loses.”