Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Overseas Workers 'Needed in North'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Overseas Workers 'Needed in North'

Article excerpt

Byline: By Ross Smith

Thousands of overseas workers should be imported to the North to plug its skills gap, a new economic strategy claims.

It is also being proposed that foreign entrepreneurs should be targeted to start new businesses here.

The measures are being proposed in a plan to grow the region's economy. Tyne and Wear is one of eight "city-regions" highlighted in the Northern Way growth scheme as hotbeds of the Northern economy, which will each produce action plans this summer.

But the study also suggests a public relations campaign will be needed in the region, which a recent survey found to be most sceptical part of the country over multi-culturalism.

A draft says that more skilled

workers are need to counter the effects of an expected 26,000 fall in the population in Tyne and Wear over 25 years.

Better qualified workers are more likely to move out of the region, leaving an under-skilled population behind.

The report, drawn up by officials at the region's councils and regional development agency One NorthEast, points out that the Scottish Executive recently published plans to attract talented workers from abroad.

The report says: "The North East faces similar issues.

"There is widespread agreement that such areas need to attract highly skilled entrepreneurs, workers and academic, but there is a complex web of social and cultural factors which influence this."

It quotes a Mori survey last year which found that 23% of people in the North-East disagreed with the statement that "it is a good thing that Britain is a multi-racial society" ( the highest rate in the country.

The same study found the North-East was the region most concerned that Britain is "losing its culture", with 66% agreeing. And 94% believe the Government does not have immigration under control. The report says: "This would suggest that not only is the region less prepared than others to accept greater cultural diversity, but that many might react against a policy which deliberately sought to bring this about.

"It would suggest that any move to a managed migration policy should be handled with great tact and should be widely canvassed and explained. …

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