Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has responded to the publication of a long awaited White Paper on Immigration from the Home Office, stressing that immigration is a positive for the UK, including Northern Ireland.
Mr Farry has further cautioned against a one-size fits all approach. The Alliance Party has already raised concerns regarding Northern Ireland with the Prime Minister and will continue to make representations.
Stephen Farry said: "Immigration is good for all of the UK, including Northern Ireland. It enriches our society, with immigrants helping our economy to be competitive and maintaining the quality of our public services.
"Today's Home Office White Paper is self-defeating for the UK economy, and its panders to scare-mongering. The Migration Advisory Committee debunked many of the myths around immigration, but sadly, its recommendations bore little connection to its own analysis.
"Furthermore, little consideration is given to the particular needs of the different regions of the UK. In Northern Ireland, large elements of the economy including manufacturing, hospitality, and the agri-food sectors plus health and social care already have a considerable dependency upon migrant labour, including at lower skill levels.
"A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't address our needs, and there is a need for some devolution of powers over immigration to Northern Ireland to address local circumstances around salary levels.
"These different needs have already been articulated by a range of local stakeholders, including the joint letter from the then First Minister and deputy First Minister in August 2016 and a joint statement across a range of business organisations.
"Alliance has also raised these concerns directly with the Prime Minister, and we will continue to make representations over the coming weeks."