As the great unravelling of Britain’s ties with the EU begins, it seems that employers are not prepared for a post-Brexit drop in migration levels.
A survey commissioned by the think-tank, Resolution Foundation, has found that of the 503 business decision-makers interviewed (all of whom employ EU/EEA workers), almost half have unrealistic expectations of what the immigration regime will be like once the UK has exited the EU. Seventeen per cent think that the current system of freedom of movement for EU/EEA nationals to the UK will be unchanged. Thirty per cent expect that the system will be maintained for those who have a job offer; they’ll still have the chance to move freely throughout the EU.
Almost half of those surveyed said they don’t expect the number of EU nationals in their workforce to change over the next 12 months. Twenty four per cent said they expect to employ more migrant workers. That’s against the backdrop of the Government’s plans to reduce net migration to tens of thousands (and a reported fall from 335,000 on the eve of the referendum to 248,000 at the end of 2016).
It seems clear that, although there remains plenty of uncertainty around what Brexit will actually mean, employers – particularly those that rely heavily on migrant workers – should be looking at contingency planning.
How can our employment lawyers help?
If you employ migrant workers, you need to start thinking about the potential impact that Brexit may have on your workforce, and how you will plan around this. Whilst the Government has given some very limited indications on migrant workers’ eligibility to remain in the UK post-Brexit, you need to start considering your options now.
Our specialist solicitors in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Melton act for businesses large and small in Suffolk, Essex and further afield and can guide you with a minimum of fuss and expense.