Board voices concerns over impact of government immigration policy on community

Board vice-president Amanda Bowman said costs would rise if it becomes harder to find care workers and security guards


The Board of Deputies has voiced concern at the government’s new proposals to reduce immigration, which were published this week.

Amanda Bowman, Board vice-president, said it had warned government departments of the impact this could have on Jewish community organisations. 

“Many of the security guards and care workers that the Jewish community employs, for example, are EU migrants,” she said.

“The new rules will make it much harder to attract new workers, meaning that costs for organisations which provide security and social care for our community are likely to rise. “

The proposals will give preference to higher-skilled workers on an Australian-style points system.

Immigrants will have to speak English and have a job offer with a minimum salary of £25,600, although in areas where there are shortages of workers, the threshold could be lowered to £20,480.

From next January, EU citizens will no longer enjoy automatic right of entry.

The end of freedom of movement for EU citizens could affect the Charedi community, where marriages with partners from abroad are common.

Some Israelis have been able to qualify for Polish or Lithuanian passports, for example, making it easier to marry someone from Britain.

Some Twitter users claimed Ms Bowman's statement indicated the Board was more concerned about Jewish employers than migrants.

In response, the Board put out another statement saying: "British Jews are a migrant community ourselves. On immigration, we stand for a fair system, oppose hostility & celebrate all that migrants bring to our country".

The government's prospective policy was also criticised by Dr Edie Friedman, executive director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, who called on it to go "back to the drawing board".

She said, "The way this new policy is being presented is making a statement that these individuals are just economic commodities, wanted only for their skills and not for any cultural or social benefit that they bring to the country.

"As others have pointed out, how many of our ancestors would have been able to come to Britain under such strict language and income requirements?"

The government's plans would in particular put "enormous strain" on the social care system, nearly a quarter of whose workers were born outside the UK, she said.


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