TIGA, the trade association representing the UK games industry, today warned the Westminster Coalition Government against restricting or removing the existing rights of exceptionally talented migrants and highly skilled migrants who fill shortage occupations from settling in the UK. TIGA warned that restricting or removing settlement rights could make the UK a less attractive place for many talented migrants, to the detriment of both the UK economy and to the video games industry.
TIGA made the comments in response to a consultation exercise by the Migration Advisory Committee: Call for Evidence on Analysis of Settlement of Migrants Under Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points Based System.
Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said:
“Restricting or removing settlement rights could make the UK a less attractive place for many talented migrants. Limiting or eliminating settlement rights could stymie the growth of some games development businesses and could harm the capacity of the sector generally. At a time when the UK economy has virtually flatlined for nine months, the last thing that the Government should be doing is harming the capacity of a high technology, high skills, export oriented sector to grow.”
UK game businesses typically try to recruit from the resident labour market. However, many businesses also have to source skilled development staff from overseas. 12 per cent of the development workforce consists of non-UK citizens. If UK games businesses cannot recruit from the local labour market or hire migrant employees, then some contracts could be jeopardised.
TIGA is the trade association representing the UK’s games industry. The majority of our members are either independent games developers or in-house publisher owned developers. We also have games publishers, outsourcing companies, technology businesses and universities amongst our membership. TIGA was awarded ‘Trade Association of the Year’ and the ‘Member Recruitment Award’ at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards 2010. In 2011, TIGA won a further four awards at the Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards, including ‘Trade Association of the Year’ for the second consecutive year. TIGA has been voted a finalist in the CMI Management and Leadership Awards 2011 in the ‘Outstanding Organisation (SME)’ category. Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, has been voted a finalist in the ‘Outstanding Leader’ category. TIGA was also named as a finalist in the 2010 Chartered Management Institute (CMI) National Management and Leadership Awards in the category of ‘The Outstanding Organisation of the Year Award (SME)’. TIGA is an ‘Investors in People’ accredited organisation.
Our vision is to make the UK the best place in the world to do games business. Our mission is to fight for the interests of game developers. To achieve our vision and mission we focus on the delivery of three strategic objectives: effective political representation, profile raising and helping our members commercially. This means that TIGA members are effectively represented in the corridors of power, their voice is heard in the media and they receive benefits that make a material difference to their businesses, including a reduction in costs and improved commercial opportunities.
At present, after living in the UK for a specified length of time some Points Based System Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants may apply to settle in the UK. An individual with settlement rights receives a variety of benefits including the ability to access state benefits such as the NHS on the same basis as UK citizens. However, settlement is not the same as citizenship and this has to be separately applied for. To qualify for settlement after five years, Tier 1 and Tier 2 migrants typically need to show that they have spent a continuous five years lawfully in the UK, demonstrate a knowledge of the English language and life in the UK. To qualify for settlement through the Tier 1 exceptional talent route, the applicant must be economically active in his expert field as previously endorsed by a designated competent body, be in employment or self-employment, or both. Dependents are eligible to apply for settlement at the same time as the principal migrant provided that they have lived with him or her in the UK for a minimum of five years. According to the consultation document, there were over 25,000 Tier 1/Tier 2 settlement grants and about 35,000 dependent settlement grants over the period Q2 2010 to Q1 2011.
For further information, please contact Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO on: 07875 939 643, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .