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Brexit: A 'UK workers first' proposal could cause mass disruption

Posted by: Rana Barker 6 Sep 17  | Business Support
Brexit: A 'UK worker first' proposal could cause mass disruption

 
The Home office paper entitled
'Border, Immigration and Citizenship system after the UK leaves the European Union...'

The most vexed subject of the Brexit debate

A proposed leaked document hit the news today, giving further indications that we are perhaps heading for a hard Brexit. The direction the home office is heading could affect thousands of low skilled migrant workers and their families, if we are to believe that today's leaked document is the way the government wants to deal with net migration. Not only has this caused a lot of concern for EU nationals currently residing in the UK, but it has caused further tensions in Europe, especially with EU nationals who feel like they are going to be treated as second class citizens. Not the smartest move by the government, who is currently fighting a divorce with a 27 country bloc.

It is definitely a time of great uncertainty for anyone trying to get their head around new proposals to reduce net migration, and the freedom of movement in labour after Brexit. If the document has any validity then it is quite clear that the government wants to focus on policies that push British workers first, which will inevitably drive down the need for low skilled immigrant workers from the EU. Will the government invest in the right initiatives to bridge our growing skills gap, and ensure that we have a strong UK talent pool who are prepared to do these low skilled jobs? A trade body representative from the Manufacturers Organisation (EEF) commented on how hard it really is "we simply don't get jobs applications from prospective UK workers"..



If the government decides to adopt this strategy then we can only assume its pushing for a 'Britain first' theme. On one hand, this has been welcomed as decisive measures to bring down net migration and ensure that we only hire skilled workers; pushing us to build the right skills domestically. If the UK is going to survive after Brexit we need to build a strong and competitive talent pool and economy.

However it's the businesses who rely heavily on EU workers that are claiming that this sort of policy could prove to be "catastrophic" for their businesses, exposing "the governments deep lack of understanding of the vital contribution that EU migrant workers make at all skill levels." Ian Wright, director of Food and drink federation, Read further commentary here

The paper then goes on to outline how businesses will have to recruit locally, unless they could prove an 'economic need' for EU citizens; which basically means that if they don't employ UK workers they could face high taxes. Choosing to employ an unskilled EU staff rather than UK workers is no longer an option it would seem. Areas such as farming, manufacturing, construction and hospitality would probably be the greatest hit, where most of our builders, waiters, chefs, and housekeepers in the UK are EU nationals. It is estimated that 60,000 new EU workers are needed every year to fill these vacancies.

Source: Read The British Hospitality Association response to the leaked immigration proposals

Whatever stance the government decides to take it is clear that its aim is to focus on low skilled migration, with the hope to reduce net migration by 100,000 a year. Low skilled staff will be offered residency for a maximum of two years which will alleviate any pressures on UK resources, transportation and health, which will ultimately appease all Brexiters who want a clean break from the EU.

    "The government will take a view on the economic and social needs of the country as regards EU migration, rather than leaving this decision entirely to those wishing to come here and employers"

Source: Taken from the leaked government document

 

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