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TIGA asks UK government to protect status of existing EU workers

Migrant workers fill vital gaps in country's skillset, says body

UK Trade body TIGA has asked the government to ensure that workers from the EU currently in Great Britain will not be repatriated as a result of the country leaving the European Union, instead guaranteeing that their existing rights are protected, along with any EU workers who join the country's workforce before Britain's exit is enforced.

"The existing rights of EU workers already present and working in the UK should be protected so that they can continue to live and work in the UK with the confidence and assurance that they are not going to be asked to leave the UK at some stage," said Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO. "This is just, reasonable and practical. The Government must also clarify the status of EU workers who enter the UK following the EU referendum and prior to the UK's exit from the EU.

"Looking ahead, TIGA recognises that given the outcome of the referendum and also the position that the EU may take in any negotiations, it may be impossible to preserve free movement rights in their current form. In that case, the UK will need an effective and efficient migration system.

"Firstly, the existing immigration cap that applies to skilled, sponsored workers will almost certainly need to be increased from 20,700 in order to accommodate the needs of UK employers in the future. Secondly, certain roles within the games sector where there is a specific skills shortage, for example, Engine Programmer, Game Analyst and Senior Game Designer, may need to be added to the Shortage Occupation List to ensure that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay.

"Thirdly, any new immigration system must minimise some of the costs and complexity of the current points based immigration system as it is likely that any replacement will need to deal with work permits on a far larger scale than it is used for at present. It is vital that any new arrangements are not onerous or complex and that industry is not held back by skills shortages."

TIGA Currently estimates that around 15% of the UK's games industry consists of workers from the EU.

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