The UK government has now set out its plans for a new points-based immigration system. They will mean big changes for most companies. More than a quarter of businesses currently have at least one staff member from the EU. And 95% of SMEs have no experience of handling immigration issues.
Equally worrying, as the chart from the independent Institute for Public Policy Research confirms, is that most current EU workers would have failed to qualify under the new rules. This is because they would not have gained enough points to secure a skilled work visa:
“This suggests that the government’s proposals will have a significant impact on the labour market – particularly on low-paid sectors currently reliant on EU migrants. The social care system is already experiencing a workforce crisis, but these new immigration measures are likely to make recruitment even more challenging. Businesses such as hotels, restaurants and construction firms will also find it particularly difficult to recruit EU workers under the new system.”
Workers already here will have their rights protected under the new ‘settled status’ scheme, which remains open until 30 June 2021. But employers wishing to hire EU, EEA or Swiss citizens after 31 December 2020 will face different rules – and significant costs. Employers are also likely to find it more difficult to recruit women, as the IPPR estimate that only 26% of women will be eligible for a skilled work visa, versus 36% of men.
Employers need to start applying now for Home Office approval to become a sponsor, if they want to employ new EU/EEA/Swiss employees from next year.
Immigration is just one of many areas that will see major change after Brexit happens at the end of the year. Join Ready for Brexit now and keep up-to-date with key developments as they happen.