Responding to the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) report on the level at which the cap on skilled migration should be set, Oil & Gas UK's chief executive, Malcolm Webb, said, "A global industry such as oil and gas relies heavily on its ability to pull together teams of people with very specialist skills and experience from all around the world. We are dismayed therefore to see that the MAC is proposing that the Government should cap the number of people coming to the UK from outside the European Union (EU) to take up posts which cannot be filled by UK residents. We are particularly concerned that companies using intra-company transfers (ICT) to bring in the necessary skills and expertise not found in the UK, will be included within that cap.
"The temporary cap on skilled migration is already causing delays to major UK offshore oil and gas projects on which, paradoxically, hundreds of jobs for UK residents depend. If MAC's proposal is taken forward by the Government, it will only serve to jeopardize investment in the development of the UK's oil and gas resource, with the related risk to employment and security of energy supply in the medium and long-term.
"It is perverse that in an effort to demonstrate how an annual reduction in net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands might be achieved, it would appear that MAC is proposing to stop those who bring the greatest economic benefit and whose skills are in short supply – such as scientists and engineers – from coming to the UK while, absurdly, allowing sportspeople in.
"The MAC report evidences that the Government is wrong to target skilled migrants in its efforts to reduce net migration. We call on the Government to ensure that entry of skilled migrants via the Tier 2 route and particularly ICT is protected. Not doing so will do damage to the UK oil and gas industry, which is providing employment, tax revenues and energy to help drive the economy out of recession."
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