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Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Businesses in Somerset 'need' migrants to get by
Care home worker with an elderly man
Chris Arnold said he struggled to find local workers for his residential home

Do Somerset's businesses need to employ people from abroad to get by?

Taking on staff from outside the country could be about to get harder when a cap on skilled migrants comes in next year.

The number of people moving here in those categories from outside the European Union will be limited to 21,700 - down from more than 50,000.

But businesses here in Somerset have expressed reservations, saying their businesses could be seriously affected.

About 25% of staff at the Tudor Lodge Residential home in Burnham-on-Sea are from outside the EU.

Manager Chris Arnold said: "Looking after the elderly is basically high skilled, low paid work.

"We have an ageing population, we have a decreasing number of people who are there and willing to look after them.

"I'm concerned about what will happen if some of my Filipino staff have to go home. Ultimately the quality of care the residents receive may suffer."

He said he had sought to get staff from overseas because they have the best possible skill sets which could not be found locally.

He added that it was not cost driven as he pays the overseas workers the same as the local ones.

Intellect

Jocelyn Arreza moved from the Philippines to Martock in 2006 and is now a debt advisor.

She said: "When we come here, we are already the cream of the crop in our country. It's a brain drain in our country but it's definitely an add-on to where we go to.

"Filipino workers are always good workers, and they always go the extra mile. We are bringing our intellect and experience here and the government will lose out if they put a cap on it."

Migration Watch said a cap was needed because the current situation was unsustainable.

Alp Mehmet from the group said: "No-one's suggesting immigrants don't have the intellect or that they're not cheaper or more flexible.

"But that is no long term answer to the shortages that we've got."




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