British cinema is globally known for its blockbuster hits, from the action-packed “James Bond” films to comedy classics such as “Shaun of the Dead”. However, the UK Screen Alliance and VFX (video effects) industry have warned that post-Brexit immigration could be detrimental to their work.
UK Film industries express concern over immigration reforms
In public statements, industry experts have raised concerns that this would damage their industries and cost the United Kingdom in terms of both soft power and the economy. They are particularly concerned by the end of free movement across the European Union as well as the exorbitantly high salary threshold of £30,000.
EU workers make up a third of those in the VFX industry and a fifth of those employed in animation. An end to freedom of movement will put in place barriers for UK employment which will only be made worse by a salary threshold which is far above what the average worker makes.
The government’s response
The Conservative government have defended their policy stating that their goal will be to clamp down on low-skilled migrants. Neil Hatton, Chief Executive of the UK Screen Alliance, has criticised the government’s response maintaining that wages alone will not indicate a worker’s contribution. He further stated that if the industry must adjust to these changes, it could lead to an additional £2.5 million paid by employers to maintain their staff. This cost does not account for 750 new EU citizens which are employed each year. Hatton notes that this could lead to an increase in overhead costs of 3-5%, having a devastating impact on their competitiveness and profitability.
In addition, the Conservative government have proposed introducing an “Immigration Skill Charge” will be applied to EU visas. This charge currently exists for those with non-EU Tier 2 visas who must pay an additional £1,000 annually as well as an Immigration Health Surcharge which is £400 per year.
Other Industries that will be impacted
Brexit immigration reforms will also hurt several other industries such as tourism, food production and even creative sectors such as the gaming industry.
These industries have campaigned for the UK to lower their salary threshold for visas and have maintained the importance of being able to access international talent.
In a report published by Canterbury Church University, undertaken in alliance with the UK tourism trade association UKinbound, researchers maintained the importance of low-skilled migration. The report maintains that “low-skilled” workers could be equivalent in value to highly skilled workers in the tourism industry. The report further recommends that the government add language skills to the occupational shortlist. The UK tourism industry is valued at £145 billion.
UK Tier 2 Work Permit
The Tier 2 work visa is the most heavily requested visa and with the Conservative party re-elected, with a massive majority, it is likely to be harder to gain. The government have pledged to curb immigration figures but have maintained that they will continue to support those who will contribute back to the UK as part of their “Global Britain” initiative.
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