Just days after launching its own manifestofor 2017, Ukie’s CEO Dr Jo Twist OBE has responded to the Conservative Party’s general election manifesto, saying:
We welcome the fact that the Conservative Manifesto, launched [Thursday], contains a number of commitments to support the UK games and wider digital and creative industries, and are delighted to see recognition of the role that the games industry plays in driving innovation across the economy. Yet, these commitments risk being undermined by the direction of travel on international talent and immigration.
"Whilst we welcome the pledge to set aside significant numbers of visas for workers in strategically-important sectors like digital technology, the commitment to double the immigration skills charge on migrant workers to 2,000 a year risks severely undermining the Conservatives’ vision of building a Global Britain.
"The ability to access top and diverse international talent is absolutely vital for the UK to remain globally competitive and for UK businesses to secure work which would otherwise be invested elsewhere. As a fundamentally global industry, where there is fierce competition for specialist and new and emerging skills as well as territory specific knowledge, games businesses will always need to source and compete globally for this top talent.
"What’s more, this pledge fails to recognise the value of international workforces to the games and wider creative and technology industries. We rely on bringing together top talent from across the world, as it is precisely the fusion of diverse backgrounds and experiences that feeds the innovation and creativity our sectors need to thrive.
"An immigration system fit for a truly Global Britain must acknowledge this value and be built to ensure that we remain a top global hub for diverse international talent.”