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UK VFX workers oppose Conservative proposals for Immigration Skills Charge

Conservative Party proposes to double the cost of Immigration Skills Charge over course of the next parliament

Members of the UK’s visual effects industry have voiced their opposition to the Conservative Party’s manifesto proposal to double the Immigration Skills Charge over the course of the next parliament.

It would mean the cost of a Skills Charge for a five-year visa for non-EU workers would rise to £10,000.

Neil Hatton, CEO of the UK Screen Alliance, the trade body that represents VFX, animation, post production and studios, said: “It is difficult to reconcile this proposal with the statement that the Prime Minister gave at Lancaster House on 17th January 2017 when she set out Britain’s priorities for the Brexit negotiations.

“Then she said Britain should be ‘a magnet for international talent’ which attracts ‘the brightest and the best’. It is hard to see how this proposal aligns with that sentiment.”

Research conducted by the UK Screen Alliance shows that while 57 per cent of the roughly 6,000 employees filling creative and operational roles in the local VFX sector are from the UK, 31 per cent are from the EU and EEA (excluding UK and Ireland) and 12 per cent are from the rest of the world, and therefore potentially subject to the Immigration Skills Charge.

Will Cohen, Milk VFX CEO and UK Screen Alliance board member, added: “Any visa regime introduced must be affordable for employers in order not to squeeze the growth of the UK VFX industry. Making it more difficult to hire specialist non-EU employees when there is a domestic skillset shortage creates a short-term dichotomy.”

UK Screen Alliance has now called on the Conservative Party, if it forms the next government, to reconsider the policy, and recommends it should be scrapped altogether.