TIGA, the trade association representing the UK video games industry, has today commented on the CBI’s recommendations for the UK’s migration regime after Brexit.
The CBI has recommended that freedom of movement should be replaced with an “open and controlled” immigration system for EU workers. It has also called for reforms so that businesses can better access talent from outside the EU.
The CBI’s recommendations for a new immigration system can be grouped into five themes:
- Build public trust in the UK’s migration system by shifting away from controlling numbers to assessing contribution and by investing in local public services where demand has been increased by migration;
- Reform the UK’s non-EU immigration system so that firms can better access people and skills from around the world, not just the EU;
- Recognise the strong links between people and trade as the UK forges new economic relationships on the world stage;
- Replace free movement with an open and controlled immigration system for EU workers;
- Ensure that the transition to any new migration system is done with respect for people and in an orderly manner.
International talent is particularly important for the video games industry. Currently, EU workers make up 15 per cent of the industry, while 5 per cent come from countries outside the EU. The ability to retain these workers and recruit more talent is essential for the industry, as TIGA aims to expand the number of games studios from 688 to 1,200 by 2022.
TIGA has called on the Government to consider a range of options for a future migration policy:
- Reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers in the video games industry;
- Negotiate a general reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers with a job offer;
- Provide approximately 1,500 work permits per annum for the UK video games industry;
- Add roles (e.g. Games Analyst and Engine Programmer) to the Shortage Occupation List where there is a specific skills shortage so that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay;
- Ensure that any new immigration arrangements are not complex or costly for business;
- Introduce a fast-track visa programme for roles on the Shortage Occupation List.
Commenting on the CBI report, Chief Executive Officer of TIGA, DR Richard Wilson OBE, said:
“We hope the Government listens to organisations like TIGA and the CBI. Skilled workers are vital to the businesses we represent. Brexit provides an opportunity to introduce a migration system that both controls the flow of workers while still enabling businesses to hire the best and brightest talent from around the world.
“Industry needs more detail on the future migration regime. Video games companies depend on the ability to recruit highly skilled workers wherever they are from. To compete against studios in North America and the Far East, we need easy access to the best and brightest talent.
“Throughout the Brexit process, TIGA will continue to work with the Government to ensure the new migration regime works for the video games industry.”