60-second: Jurga McCluskey, head UK immigration, Deloitte
Tell me about your role?
I am partner and head of UK immigration at Deloitte and I do a bit of everything. I give strategic business advice to international clients, develop innovative services, engage with the UK Government, the European Commission, and the Mayor of London, advising think tanks as well as being a voice in the media.
Any Brexit update?
The recent Brexit bill will not have a direct effect on immigration as it intends to confer powers to the Prime Minister to give notice to the EU that the UK will be withdrawing from the EU. The white paper for leaving the EU, however, has proposed a new immigration system for the UK post-Brexit, which includes regulations on the movement of EU nationals. We are still awaiting the actual detail of this new policy and then we will be able to estimate its full effect on immigration.
What are the main challenges your clients are facing?
The uncertainty around the status of EU workers, the so-called ‘known unknowns’, is a major concern for businesses we advise but we have managed to assist our clients by setting out clearly where future workforce pressures could arise and how to mitigate them. The ‘known knowns’ such as the upcoming changes to the Tier 2 visa category which includes a new Immigration Skills Charge, higher salary thresholds, and the closure of the short term twelve months visa, may lead to changes to the way firms recruit skilled workers in the future. Essentially, migrant labour will become more expensive and short term assignments will be restricted.
Tell me about an achievement you are most proud of?
Being part of and leading one the largest immigration teams in the world. I am also very proud of my Citywealth ‘Editor’s Choice Award’ which I received last year. That was a very nice and meaningful surprise.
What trends do you see in immigration?
We’ve seen the demand for skilled and unskilled workers increase because the UK economy is growing and more jobs emerging in all sectors, and with international students added to this mix, net migration is at a record level in the UK. The last set of figures from the Office for National Statistics put net migration at 335,000, the highest ever recorded.
What do you do to unwind?
Antigravity yoga and skiing.
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