British employers are concerned that Brexit negotiations could result in restrictions on their ability to recruit workers form the European Economic Area (EEA), according to the Migration and Advisory Committee (MAC).
According to an interim report, employers are fearful that the country’s future migration system could prevent some of the “best” candidates from gaining access to the UK labour market, particularly when it comes to higher skilled workers that rely on the UK Tier 2 work permit system.
Specifically, the report suggests that employers are concerned that changes to the rules and caps on the number of workers allowed to travel to Britain under the UK Tier 2 work permit system could be applied to EEA migrants when Brexit comes into effect.
According to the report, these concerns also apply to employers in lower-skilled sectors, where MAC suggested there have been increases in the number of EEA migrant workers since 2004 that could be reversed should restrictions be applied.
In response to the comments, Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst for CIPD, suggested that the answer could be to introduce a system that allows low-skilled migrant workers to apply for jobs in Britain in either the medium or long term.
“Under this arrangement, employers would have to show that they are making efforts to improve the supply of UK workers while demonstrating that the occupation has a genuine labour or skill shortage,” he said.
“This more selective approach to controlling unskilled or low-skilled migration from the EU could potentially act as a catalyst for improving employer practice and enable most organisations to meet their labour and skills needs.”