Brexit, EU Workers and Temporary Labour
Brexit is changing a number of things and temporary labour is no exception. The UK is set to introduce a Points Based Immigration System for European Nationals which will add paperwork and process to the previous freedom of movement.
In 2017, EU nationals represented 8% of the UK workforce, but at the end of that same year, net EU migration in the UK fell by 51,000 to 127,000, its lowest levels since 2013. According to a KPMG survey carried out on 2000 European Nationals in 2017, a year after the EU Referendum, 45% said they will stay, more than two fifths – equivalent to nearly 1 million people are considering, or have decided, to leave the UK.
The new rules will include various routes of entry to the UK such as skilled worker route, work permits and a points-based system which may put hurdles on entry to people who may be lower skilled. The amendment to IR35 legislation, which is likely to see a huge move away from engagement of personal service limited companies with a move back to employed or PAYE engagement, will become an issue as well.
The new immigration rules post Brexit are like those already in place for other countries around the world and these include:
- Job Spec- The required skill level of Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF),3 or above, which would be the equivalent of A level and above.
- The applicant must speak the required standard of English,
- They must be paid a salary of £25,600 or the going rate for the job, whichever is higher,
- They must work for a UK employer that’s been approved by the Home Office,
- The job must be on the list of eligible occupations,
- And they must have a ‘certificate of sponsorship’ from their UK employer with information about the role they have been offered.
The new immigration rules on European citizens, may cause more problems for companies who do not want to employ permanent staff due to the pandemic. According to the CIPD’s Labour Market Outlook (LMO) report, the share of organisations reporting hard-to-fill vacancies increased from 56% in the Spring 2017 report to more than three in five (61%) organisations in the Spring 2019 report. In response many organisations are raising salaries, especially for key staff and new starters. According to the LMO Autumn 2019 report, 59% of private sector employers reported raising salaries to help offset their recruitment difficulties. Organisations need to be a lot more diligent when engaging with suppliers to make sure that all entities in the supply chain comply with and promote ethical standards when it comes to temporary labour. Things are changing and businesses need to ensure they are compliant with the new immigration laws. The application process for settled status for EU citizens does not close until June 2021 for those already settled in the UK, after which the new right to work process and laws will come into effect. Employers would need to be vigilant after this date to verify that those they employ are entitled to job status without displaying any sort of discriminatory behaviour against EU nationals.
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