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Are UK employers prepared for immigration changes?

 

Britain is due to start negotiations for its exit from the EU, next week.  In anticipation of this, it is important to establish what UK based employers expect will happen and whether they are prepared for imminent changes.

According to a survey from the Resolution Foundation think tank showed on Monday,  almost half of British employers are unprepared for the government’s planned changes to immigration rules after Brexit.

The survey suggest that 30% of companies think freedom of movement will continue for citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) so long as they have a job offer.

Another 17 percent thought there would be no change to the current rules at all.

The Resolution Foundation said these expectations were “totally unrealistic” considering Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to cut immigration to the tens of thousands, regardless of businesses’ demand for foreign labour.

However, as we all saw last week, May lost her parliamentary majority in an election she did not need to call, bringing political turmoil a week before Britain is due to start negotiating the terms of its exit from the EU in talks of unprecedented complexity that are supposed to wrap up by the end of March 2019, when Britain is due to leave.

Forty-six percent of companies employing EU/EEA nationals said they did not expect any decline in their numbers, even though official data has already shown a sharp fall in net migration.

“There’s a stark gap between what businesses want and expect from our post-Brexit immigration system and what the government has pledged to deliver,” said Stephen Clarke, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation.

“Reconciling these differences, and giving businesses enough to plan for a new regime is absolutely vital.”

Clarke said this would be particularly important for sectors like agriculture, food manufacturing, hospitality and construction.

Having conducted it’s own market research, Elm Rose has not been surprised to find that employers indeed are not prepared for potential changes.  We are not surprised purely because of the ambiguity of the current climate.

 

If you are an employer or an employee and need advice on where you stand, contact our expert lawyers now.

 

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