They called for flexibility for skilled workers to enter the UK through a points-based system, and a reformed sponsorship process.
The Home Office said it would introduce a points-based immigration system.
It added that it would consult businesses as the new system was rolled out.
In an open letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, businesses said “fair and sustainable immigration” is critical for growth.
The UK’s five largest business organisations and around 30 trade associations, from hoteliers to universities, employing millions of people, also welcomed signals that a £30,000 minimum salary test may change.
This would stress that the UK was open for business, they said.
In July, business groups warned the government that more than 60% of all jobs in the UK were currently beneath the £30,000 cut-off.
The letter said: “Business understands that the immigration system must change in order to re-build public confidence.
“Insight from enterprise can help build a points-based model that provides greater control, whilst providing access to the labour and skills needed to support the economy.
“And this can go hand in hand with a continued determination to invest in training home grown talent.”
Signatories included the CBI, British Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors, Federation of Small Businesses and MakeUK.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We will deliver on the people’s priorities by introducing a points-based immigration system, attracting the brightest and best talent from around the world while cutting low-skilled immigration and bringing overall numbers down.
“This firmer and fairer system will let us decide who comes to this country based on their skills and the contribution they can make – not where they come from.
“We will continue to speak with businesses of all sizes as the system is designed and rolled out.”