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Conservative party's immigration policy could hurt UK game devs, warns UKIE

Conservative party's immigration policy could hurt UK game devs, warns UKIE

May 19, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

British games industry trade body UKIE has warned the UK Conservative party over its manifesto pledge to double the immigration skills charge on migrant workers to £2000 ($2600) a year. 

The organisation says such a significant rise would "severely undermine" the party's vision of creating a global Britain, and could hurt those game developers and studios who rely on attracting top talent from around the world. 

"The ability to access top and diverse international talent is absolutely vital for the UK to remain globally competitive and for UK businesses to secure work which would otherwise be invested elsewhere," said UKIE CEO, Dr Jo Twist. 

"As a fundamentally global industry, where there is fierce competition for specialist and new and emerging skills as well as territory specific knowledge, games businesses will always need to source and compete globally for this top talent."

Twist believes the pledge doesn't recognise the value international workforces bring to the games and wider tech and creative industries, although she does approve of the Conservative's promise to set aside significant numbers of visas for workers in strategically-important sectors like digital technology.

"We rely on bringing together top talent from across the world, as it is precisely the fusion of diverse backgrounds and experiences that feeds the innovation and creativity our sectors need to thrive," she continued

"An immigration system fit for a truly Global Britain must acknowledge this value and be built to ensure that we remain a top global hub for diverse international talent." 

Naturally, the immigration skills charge would only rise if the Conservatives come out on top in the upcoming general election on June 8.

But right now that seems like something of a forgone conclusion, with the latest YouGov poll putting the party 13 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Labour.

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