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Post-Brexit Immigration Reforms & Video Game Industry

From old-school classic N64 games, like ‘Golden Eye 007’, to high-speed racers, like ‘Burnout’, and Indie darlings, like ‘Super Meat Boy’, the UK is home to one of the largest game industries in the globe. In 2018, Britain’s video game industry was valued at £5.7 billion pounds and employed over 14,000 people. Despite the booming success in recent years, industry experts fear that post-Brexit immigration reforms could spell ‘game over’ for their industry.

Will Britain ‘get Brexit done’? How will Britain’s immigration change post-Brexit?

At the time of writing a general election looms over Britain and may decide the fate of Brexit. The election will be held on 12 December and pits the fervent pro-remain Liberal Democrats against the staunchly Brexit favouring Conservative party.

If re-elected, the Conservatives have promised to leave the EU in late January and end free movement across the EU. The Liberal Democrats, however, insist that they will revoke Article 50 and continue Britain’s membership in the EU and permit free movement across the EU. Labour, Britain’s main opposition party, has stated that they will hold a second referendum, if elected, and this would determine their policy on EU migration.

In general Britain’s opposition parties, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, seek to relax UK immigration controls and bring an end to the ‘hostile environment’ which was brought in by the Conservatives.

Find out more about the immigration proposals from different political parties.

The prospect of stricter controls has raised concerns amongst Britain’s video game industry experts who warn that an inability to attract highly skilled and experienced workers would exacerbate an already existing shortage. Tiga, a UK video-game trade union, found that over a quarter of video game workers came from overseas.

A new points-based immigration system- Do you have enough experience points?

The Conservative Party has pledged that they would bring in an ‘Australian points-based system’ which would encourage highly skilled migrants whilst discouraging less skilled migrants. Whilst this policy has been shrouded in ambiguities, it appears that they are considering raising the salary threshold for Tier 2 visas and continuing their ‘hostile environment’. 

This has worried industries beyond the gaming industry, such as the tourism industry, as it would seem there will be a general decline in migration however the Conservative government is not committing to hard numbers as they had before.

Learn more about the tourism industry’s views.

Video game industry experts are not opposed to a transition towards a more meritocratic points-based system but have demanded that the focus be on an applicant’s work experience; having a genuine job offer; and language proficiency.

They have also requested that the government not raise the Tier 2 salary requirement from £24,000 to £30,000 as this would deter businesses hoping to bring over foreign workers.

The focus on retaining a low salary threshold and language proficiency is also shared by the tourism industry which is also wary of how post-Brexit migration may affect their labour force.

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