Government Immigration Proposals Damage Lawyers

Government immigration proposals will hit lawfirms warns Law Society



The Law Society has severely criticised Government proposals to limit business migration which could complicate international recruitment for UK law firms. The Government is currently considering ending the automatic right for migrants holding Tier 2 visas to apply for permanent residency after living and working in the UK for five years. 

The Law Society has said that these plans could negatively affect the competitiveness of UK business, as many large City firms rely on the expertise of skilled migrant workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA).

Law Society president John Wotton said: “Law firms turn to the international market because they are engaged in a global competition for talent with international firms from other jurisdictions, such as the US. Global legal businesses are interested in recruiting only the best talent. Non-EEA migrants employed by law firms tend to be high earners. They will be spending their disposable income and paying taxes in the UK.”

Many law firms also train international staff in London with a view to returning them to their country of origin to be better able to serve local markets. The proposed changes to the Immigration Rules will affect this aspect of lawyer training and turn away more talent from the UK legal market.

The proposals are part of the Government’s commitment intended to reduce the level of net migration to the UK to tens of thousands by 2015, from the hundreds of thousands at present.