The U.K. needs immigration of at least 200,000 people net per year to avoid “catastrophic consequences” for the economy, according to a report from research group Global Future.
Politicians on both sides of the political spectrum are making the case for reducing immigration in the run-up to the June 8 election, the report said. But they need to be more honest about the benefits and “challenge the assumption that less immigration would be good for Britain.”
“Fewer immigrants will be bad for Britain’s economy, businesses, finances and public services,” said Global Future founder Gurnek Bains. “There are now political leaders from across the political spectrum who either pretend low immigration will solve every problem or connive in this deceit. These politicians are not only selling voters short — they are selling our country short too.”
Many sectors of the economy, including nursing and construction, are already on a “labor shortage cliff edge,” the report from the London-based group said. Meanwhile, several unskilled sectors are “hugely dependent” upon European Union workers thanks to the difficulty of recruiting local workers.
Prime Minister Theresa May has recommitted her Conservative party to its target of reducing migration to the tens of thousands if she wins the June election. Global Future said net immigration needs could turn out to be “well over” 250,000 a year, with the figure capable of being reduced if economic growth crashes.
Net migration stood at a near-record 335,000 in the 12 months through June 2016, official figures show.