Within the UK migration from the European Union (EU) has dropped to the lowest point in a decade. Recently released figures have indicated the lack of migration and has created the call to action for employers to develop methods to retain European talent.
A recent study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicated that net EU migration has fallen to the low point of 57,000 in the year, in September 2018. This indicates the lowest number since 2009, which is extremely worrying for businesses within the UK. In 2017 the figure for migration was 90,000 showing the dramatic decrease in migration. Another figure which was discovered by ONS was the total immigration to the UK in terms of work, from both EU and non-EU countries, which had also dropped to its lowest level since September 2014.
The Director of the Centre for International Migration at the ONS, Jay Lindop, stated that when someone is deciding whether or not to migrate there are always numerous different factors which have to be considered. These factors include, finance, housing and family, with all of them providing challenges to someone who may want to migrate. However, Lindop mentioned that since England has voted to leave the EU in 2016 there have been different migration patterns that have emerged. “Due to increasing numbers arriving for work and study, non-EU net migration is now at the highest level since 2004. In contrast, EU net migration, while still adding to the population as a whole, has fallen. We are also now seeing more ‘EU8’ citizens – those from central and eastern European countries, for example Poland – leaving the UK than arriving,” she said (People Management, 2019).
The labour MP Jonathan Boys has called on the government to listen to what business are saying over the proposals stated in the immigration white papers, in order to ensure that companies can still access the skilled and unskilled workers that they require from the EU after Brexit. The Managing Director of Migrate UK, Jonathan Beech, has said that the figures gathered by ONS provide real cause for concern and hard evidence surrounding the uncertainty of how Brexit will effect recruiters and the workforce. International workers are worrying for themselves and their family members. UK employers, not knowing what the future looks like, are struggling to plan, with some companies under enormous pressure from investors to consider relocating outside the EU,” he said (People Management, 2019).
However, Beech added that businesses and employers were in a position to combat the problem and retain top European talent. The way in which businesses can help themselves for the future is to identify spaces in the current and future workforce and highlight whether the employees have the means to stay in the UK following Brexit. Those businesses that have genuine skilled vacancies within their workforce should consider applying for a sponsor license which would allow them to have access to a wider pool of talent within the EU.
The Employment Lawyers’ Association (ELA) warned that Brexit had the potential to weaken the rights of workers within the UK. The chair of the ELA’s Legislative and Policy Committee, Paul McFarlane, stated that the current laws and rules in place to protect workers are rooted within the EU and therefore leaving the EU will no doubt weaken workers’ rights within the UK. McFarlane said “Brexit is likely to cause one of the biggest upsets to UK employment law and this is a worry for all, but for workers in particular. It is very concerning what might happen post-29 March” (People Management, 2019).
If you have any questions regarding this article then please do not hesitate to contact one of the HPC team:
T: 0151 556 1975