The CBI said the immigration plan was the manifesto’s “Achilles’ Heel” amid the “global race for talent and innovation”.
It comes after the manifesto, unveiled in Halifax yesterday, promised to use Brexit to cut net migration into the UK to the tens of thousands, partly by forcing employers to pay more to hire non-UK workers.
The Conservatives are continuing to enjoy a wide lead over closest rivals Labour in the opinion polls ahead of the 8 June UK general election this year, making it look likely the manifesto will set the tone for the UK’s medium-term political future.
“UK firms risk being left in the starting blocks because of a blunt approach to immigration,” said CBI director-general Carolyn Fairburn.
“The next government can both control migration and support prosperity – it does not need to be an either-or choice,” she said.
“Decisions made in the next Parliament will determine the UK’s economic destiny for a generation. And Brexit is the biggest and most complex task facing the next government - getting it right is vital for our country’s future prosperity.
“To make a success of Brexit, the next government must commit to working alongside business more closely than ever before. We need a team of all the talents to get the best outcome for Britain – and UK firms are up for the challenge.”