FSB responds to Government’s immigration announcement

Press Releases 4 Dec 2023

FSB says there is a need to bridge the gap between skills required in today's economy.

Martin McTague, National Chair at the Federation of Small Businesses said:

“Today’s statement is a further reminder that Government needs to act on all fronts to make sure the UK has the workforce we need in the future. The vast majority of small businesses recruit locally and never use the visa system but those who need to recruit international talent are disincentivised by the complexity and high fees in the system.

“The Shortage Occupation List wasn’t fit for purpose, as we need to bridge the gap between skills required in today’s economy, and immigration.  There needs to be a transitional framework so that our skills system can then catch up and get people ready for the roles required in each occupation in the coming years. 

“The idea of a reasonable increase in the salary threshold to match the overall jobs market is right, but as today’s increase is at the higher end of expectations the impact on specific roles and industries needs to be carefully monitored.  We must make sure businesses remain viable, especially as we wait for the skills system to catch-up.  At a time when we need economic growth, we should take care to avoid shocks to the system which could lead to service failure.

“Small firms will now want to see more astute management of skills and workforce policy so we can succeed. It’s crucial to support small businesses taking on apprentices, investing in workplace training and curbing the high taxes on jobs which prevent recruitment of people currently not in work and the upskilling of our existing staff. To help achieve this, the Government could redirect a portion of the Immigration Skills Charge revenue – which jumped from £98 million to £586 million – to small employers in the form of such incentives.

“A cap on SME immigration fees to £1,000 would help these recruiting international talent in skilled roles and help stop bureaucracy getting in the way of growth.”


Media contact

Yupina Ng

Yupina Ng

Media & Communications Officer

[email protected]
07917 628916

About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk. You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.