Migrants cap hurting UK: British business secretary

The immigration cap in UK is currently placed at 24,100 until April 2011.

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2010, 17:53 PM IST

London: British Business Secretary Vince Cable, who opposed placing an annual cap on migrants from India and other countries outside the EU, has said the limit imposed by the Home Office is already affecting the country`s economic recovery.

Placing an annual limit on the number of India and other non-EU professionals who could come to Britain for work is one of the major items on the coalition government`s agenda.

The plan, however, has been opposed in several quarters.

Cable said the cap - currently placed at 24,100 until April 2011 - was leading to companies moving jobs overseas because they are unable to hire key personnel.

"A lot of damage is being done to British industry. I`ve got a file full of examples. This is not just people whingeing," he told The Financial Times.

Cable said he was committed to the coalition`s plan for a permanent immigration cap but wanted to see it applied flexibly.

Complaints had been received from investment banking, engineering and pharmaceutical sectors. Cable said: "I am not known of as the best friend of investment bankers, but you know they are quite an important source of economic activity. I was talking to people in the City and there were two investment banks that recruit hundreds of people from the non-EU area, Indians and Americans. They were allowed only 30-40 (visas). They have moved some operations to Hong Kong."