Half of UK businesses unprepared for changes to immigration rules

14 Jun 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Almost half of Britain’s businesses are unprepared for the government’s planned changes the UK immigration rules following Brexit, according to a new survey.

Conducted by the Resolution Foundation think tank, the survey revealed that 30 per cent of companies expect freedom of movement to continue for workers from within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EU/EEA) as long as they have acquired a job offer in the UK. Meanwhile, a further 17 per cent suggested that there would be no change to any of the current rules.

However, according to the Resolution Foundation, these expectations are “totally unrealistic” in light of the fact that Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed cuts to immigration, regardless of business demand.
Despite this, 46 per cent of companies employing EU/EEA nationals believe there will not be a decline in the number of workers they can employ from overseas, despite figures highlighting a sharp fall in net migration already.

"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,” she added.

According to Clarke, this will be particularly crucial in sectors including agriculture, food manufacturing, hospitality and construction, where a tendency to hire immigrants and the added stress of potential skills gaps mean clarity is necessary.