Research by the Creative Industries Federation suggests almost 75% of creative organisations think restricting immigration would hurt business.

Photo of EU flag with star missing

Three quarters of organisations in the creative industries employ non-UK EU nationals, and two thirds of these could not fill the positions with British workers, a survey by industry body the Creative Industries Federation (CIF) suggests.

Just under 75% of responding CIF members said restricting immigration would limit their capacity to do business.

“Securing talent is the biggest challenge facing the creative sector today and restricting immigration will make this even more difficult,” said John Kampfner, CIF’s Chief Executive, in response to the results.

“EU workers currently contribute to the enormous success of Britain’s arts and creative industries, including filling skills gaps not being met by our own education system. Cutting immigration will damage the capacity of the sector to grow and thrive.”

Skills gap

250 of CIF’s members – which include organisations in the arts, media and education – took part in the survey about how they would be affected by changes to freedom of movement for UK and non-UK EU citizens after Brexit.

In line with CIF’s repeated warnings about the “skills time bomb”, more than half of respondents said they were facing skills shortages, and 80% of these said they believed the shortages would not be resolved in the next five years.

The findings follow warnings about the impact of current education policy, with Kampfner again suggesting the UK’s departure from the European Union may force necessary progress on arts education.

“Brexit means we must overhaul our education system so that we produce more young people with the right mix of skills this country needs,” he said.

“If we don’t get this right, it is not just the creative industries that will lose out, but other 21st century sectors such as engineering, science and tech, to the detriment of the economy as a whole.”

Mobile workforce

CIF re-affirmed its call for a visa system that avoids assessing creatives’ value in terms of earning potential alone, whilst recognising the prevalence of freelancing. It warned that if creative businesses are not able to access the workers they need, “the risk is they will relocate to places where they can”.