Sir James Dyson has said that Britain's immigration rules are "sheer madness" and risk creating competitors to the country's own entrepreneurs.

He has complained of a shortage of skilled home-grown engineers and design graduates as he bids to spend £250m expanding his company's research and development centre at Malmesbury, which will creat 3,000 jobs if it gets planning approval.

And he told Eamonn Holmes in an interview for Sky News: "Britain is very creative. British people are very creative and if any more of them would do engineering and discover what a creative job it is... it's not about repairing things it's about inventing and creating new technology and wonderful products.

"It is true that nearly 90 per cent of our researchers at British universities in engineering and science come from overseas and we ought to make them more welcome.

"Indeed nearly half of the undergraduates studying science and engineering are also from outside the EU so I think if we made them welcome from the very beginning and said that when you've qualify you can stay in Britain and help Britain create interesting products that we can export, rather than dis-encouraging them; they go home and then they become competitors to us.

"This is sheer madness," he said.

Dyson, known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, innovative fans and hand driers, said it filed the highest number of patents in the UK in 2012.

Sir James said 90 per cent of its products are exported to 67 countries - with all the tax revenues from sales going to the UK - £130m last year.

He said that final production engineering and assembly takes place in Malaysia and Singapore because its supply base is in Asia.

Dyson currently invests £3m a week in research and development but this could double, the company says, if the new campus gets the go-ahead.