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By Philippe Legrain 1 COMMENT

The coalition government has taken leave of its senses.

Highly skilled foreign workers are small in number, but make a disproportionate contribution to the economy – and government coffers. Global businesses that invest in the UK economy, boost exports and create jobs for British people rely on them. They also provide irreplaceable skills, experience and contacts for small British businesses. Curbing their numbers is, as Jo Valentine of London First puts it, “economically insane”.

It makes no political sense either. Few people object to highly skilled migrants. Their taxes greatly outweigh their use of public services. Their small numbers scarcely adds to population growth, cultural change or whatever other objection people may have about immigration. And the curbs are already harming our trading relations with our economic partners – notably India, where David Cameron is currently trying to drum up trade.

At a time when the economy desperately needs to grow faster to reduce the debt burden, the government is shooting itself – and us – in the foot with this immigration cap. And it is threatening London’s and Britain’s longstanding reputation as a place that is open for business with the rest of the world.

The government urgently needs to think again.

Posted 30 Jul 2010 in Blog

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