TIGA Concerned About UK Immigration Cap

November 19, 2010 -

As the UK government considers a plan to cap immigration, industry group TIGA called on the country’s administration to ensure that its policy “does not hinder UK games companies employing skilled migrants.”

As explained in the Wall Street Journal, the coalition government plans to introduce an annual limit on net immigration from outside of the European Union next April, but the cap limit has yet to be decided. An interim cap has been introduced, which will reduce immigration by five percent from previous year’s levels.

TIGA Chief Dr. Richard Wilson said, “TIGA remains concerned that the Government’s migration plans will have a negative impact on the UK games industry,” adding that “We strongly oppose the proposed permanent limits on highly skilled migrants and especially highly skilled workers with a job offer.”

Wilson stated that “arbitrary limits on migration,” could “could stop development studios from completing projects on time, halt expansion plans and damage their ability to win new contracts.”

He also urged the government to allow game developers and publishers to “recruit freely” from the Tier 2 (highly skilled workers with a job offer) migration route.

The UK’s Migration Advisory Committee has just released its recommendations for the new policy. In reducing migration to “tens of thousands,” instead of the current level of about 196,000, the report suggests that work-related visas contribute to 20 percent of the cuts, while family and student migration would make up 80 percent of the reduction.


Comments

Re: TIGA Concerned About UK Immigration Cap

Do you know how many Computer Science graduates from last year are unemployed? About 20% and TIGA says that there is a requirement for immigration. Employ more British people, there are plenty out of work and it's simply ridiculous to employ more foreign nationals which helps put more people out of work plus they take money out of the economy as it gets spent in their home countries. Employ British people and the money they earn stays in the country and they don't have to live off of the state.

With rising unemployment and calls to employ more foreign nationals it's not hard to see why the country is in such a mess.

Re: TIGA Concerned About UK Immigration Cap

In a way, I agree, given two similar candidates it makes more sense to employ the UK national. However, the games industry needs people with the right skills. I wonder how many of that 20% have ever written a program that renders a triangle, let alone created their own games.

There are no shortage of people who want to work in the games industry, but there are only a relatively small number of jobs and studios need the best. The point is that if a studio has a senior position to fill, and the best candidate is a highly skilled foreign national, what right does the government have to say that they can't offer that person the job?. That is what an arbitrary cap on net immigration would do. Companies should be able to offer highly skilled jobs to whoever they like without hindrance from short-sighted protectionist regulations.

Re: TIGA Concerned About UK Immigration Cap

You have a poorly formed idea of what universities teach, but regardless (and this a problem that I always have with the games industry) employers are not willing to train staff and just hope that they can employ staff without giving an ounce of training or experience. I'm sorry but education isn't about training people for particular jobs, it's about giving them an education. Students study law at university, but then they are trained by their employers to help them become lawyers, companies don't expect their employees to hit the ground running. Whereas the games industry thinks that it doesn't have to invest in its workforce at all.

The games industry is all too willing to reap the rewards but not to invest in it. People have to start their careers somewhere and most companies expect people to have two years industry experience, well where are they going to get if no one offers them a starting position?

In regards to senior staff, I find it ridiculous that companies can't find the correctly skilled staff in the UK let alone the whole of Europe and have to go elsewhere for them. Are they saying that no one in Europe is good enough to fill their job positions? No what it's about is cheap labour, especially with India ready to flood the European market with cheap IT labour. No one in Europe can compete with the cheap foreign labour and this is why there is opposition to the immigration cap from industries because companies want a cheap workforce and the quickest way to do that is to employ cheaper foriegn workers. No doubt if there wasn't an immigration cap but an equality law that made sure that all employees doing the same job would be paid the same amount, that would face the same amount of opposition.

Re: TIGA Concerned About UK Immigration Cap

I did not comment on what universities teach, and for the record, I am a recent Computing graduate so I think I have a fair grasp on what is taught. I have worked with other students who took modules in Direct3D/OpenGL programming (I didn't myself but you can Google for the basics) and one chap who made a 2D multi-player game for his final year project. On the other hand, I have met students who don't fully understand how an 'if' statement works...

As for recruitment from outside the EU, bear in mind that the USA, Japan and Canada will have the biggest pools of industry experience. The EU includes cheap labour economies such as Romania and Bulgaria, but that's beside the point.

Aside from that, I completely agree. No-one graduates a confident game designer/developer and the industry ought to sow what they reap. Some companies do (Rare has an internship program) but places are few. That said, it is easier than ever for people to teach themselves. Also, I would undoubtedly support any measures that enforce equal pay.

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