Ingham: 'Ex-Weber exec Priti Patel should know new immigration policy will harm PR'

The Government’s points-based immigration system could prevent hundreds of migrant PR practitioners from entering the UK, exacerbating a talent shortage and damaging the industry, the PRCA has warned.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has set out the UK's immigration policy (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Home Secretary Priti Patel has set out the UK's immigration policy (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

PRCA director-general Francis Ingham told PRWeek he believed the Government’s “blunt” and “unsophisticated” policy on points-based immigration could severely harm an industry that already struggles to attract and retain junior talent.

The PRCA leader said the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, was well aware that a £25,600 threshold for “low-skilled” work – in which the Government includes PR – would impact many entry-level roles, because Patel began her career as an account executive at Weber Shandwick.

Ingham took exception to PR being classed in the Government’s broad definition of ‘low-skilled’, and said the points-based mechanism could exacerbate a talent shortage that junior-level migrant workers help plug.

There are about 11,400 non-British PR practitioners working in the UK, of whom 10 per cent  (1,140) are at a junior executive level. The industry is relatively young, with a median age of 33, and junior executive salaries have fallen from £27,794 to £24,807 in 2019.

This means hundreds of migrant PR practitioners could potentially have their pathway to the UK closed by the Government’s new immigration policy.

“Nobody who enters their career in PR on £22,000 ends their career on £22,000. It’s short-sighted in that regard,” Ingham said.

“Some people might say that Priti Patel – who will have begun below that threshold in PR when she joined Weber Shandwick – and Boris, who began his career below this threshold in journalism, should be aware that not all industries are the same." 

He continued: "This unsophisticated, blunt instrument will exclude lots of very talented people who will contribute an awful lot to this country. There is no nuance that takes into account how people’s careers progress in different industries.”

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