Michael Gove Calls For Flexible Immigration Rules For Certain Workers After Brexit

15 May 2019, 16:15

The Environment Secretary was giving evidence to Holyrood's Rural Economy Committee.
The Environment Secretary was giving evidence to Holyrood's Rural Economy Committee. Picture: PA

Michael Gove has spoken about the need to introduce flexible immigration rules for skilled workers after Brexit to avoid vacancies in certain industries.

The Environment Secretary said he asked Home Secretary Sajid Javid to "look flexibly in how we interpret what a skilled worker is," and criticised the £30,000 salary threshold for immigrant workers.

Giving evidence in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Gove said that assessing whether a migrant worker qualified as skilled by their salary was not appropriate for all industries.

Questioned about "significant vacancies" of approximately 30% in the fish processing sector in Scotland by the SNP's Stewart Stevenson, Mr Gove argued that the migration advisory committee's recommendation of the minimum earnings for a worker to be allowed to stay after Brexit would harm businesses who rely on foreign labour.

Mr Gove said: "Pitching the level at which you define a skilled worker as someone earning over £30,000 a year wasn't actually responsive to the particular needs - not just of the fish processing sector - but the food and drink sector overall.

"One of the points that I have made to the Home Secretary and others is that we look flexibly at how we interpret what a skilled worker is in line with specific industries."

The MP, for Surrey Heath also called for "an open approach" to immigration when asked about seasonal workers.

He added: "I also think that the soft fruit sector, which is so important in Angus and Ayrshire, does need to have access to all the labour it needs."

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