Ulster Unionist Finance spokesperson, Steve Aiken OBE MLA, has warned that the £30,000 salary cap proposed in the UK Government’s White Paper on Immigration could have disastrous consequences for Northern Ireland industry.
Steve Aiken MLA said: “The White Paper on migration announced today could have disastrous consequences for Northern Ireland, as it has the potential to severely impact on many of our vital sectors including health, manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, hospitality industries and higher and further education.
“While the Home Secretary may feel he has “no reason to think” the plans would harm the economy, his proposed salary cap of £30,000 is about addressing south east England concerns, rather than those of all of us in the United Kingdom.
“Bearing in mind the average wages within our manufacturing, hospitality and health sectors are well below this threshold - with starting salaries in the NHS for nurses at just £23,000 and junior doctors starting at £27,000 - Northern Ireland is likely to be the most severely hit region of the UK.
“It is understandable that many of our highly valued skilled workers from across the world, and in particular those from the EU, feel that their skills and contribution to our society is being discounted and disregarded and that the UK and Northern Ireland in particular is becoming an unwelcoming place.”
He added: “The Ulster Unionist Party wishes to make clear that we value the contribution of migrants to our society and we strongly urge the Government to reconsider their proposals.”