New immigration plans from the UK Government pose a particular threat to Northern Ireland, Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MP has said.
The points-based system would mean low-skilled workers would not receive visas after the UK leaves the EU.
“Alliance is opposed to these changes. We will be pursuing a two-track approach of objecting to the forthcoming legislation in its entirety, while seeking special mitigation for Northern Ireland,” said Dr Farry.
“There is nothing wrong with the existing freedom of movement arrangement with the EU and wider immigration policy. Migration has helped our economy and enriched our society, and it is important we continually challenge the myths that exist around it.
“These proposals are a particular threat for Northern Ireland. A one-size fits all approach doesn’t work. The salary thresholds will bring challenges for key sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism, agri-food, and social care. Salary levels are not always a reliable indicator of skills.
“Keeping an open door to Europe and beyond while investing in skills and addressing economic inactivity are not mutually exclusive. A healthy and flexible economy needs to see both.
“There is a real danger of these immigration changes posing a further challenge to our economy. I will be doing all I can to counteract this.”