Probe into EU workers' impact on UK welcomed

A probe into the role that the EU’s self-employed, agency and temporary workers have on the UK labour market has been backed by a staffing body.

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation said the probe was the “clearest indication yet” that the government understood the need to base future immigration rules on hard facts.

The confederation also said the government must deliver polices to “safeguard access to the people we need”, as its own research has found the UK to have a “high reliance” on EU staff.

To help employers, REC’s chief executive Kevin Green wants the government to draw up a “five-year roadmap” for the implementation of new immigration policies.

He argued that the roadmap would avoid a “cliff-edge” when the UK leaves the EU, expected to be around March 2019 at the earliest.

But in a letter instructing the Migration Advisory Committee to carry out the probe, Home Secretary Amber Rudd spoke of Brexit’s impact on immigration only in three “phases.”

Although they are each outlined in the letter without timings or dates, it is phase two that should reassure Mr Green. The letter states:

“The second phase of our immigration proposals is based on a temporary implementation period to ensure there is no cliff-edge on the UK’s departure for employers or individuals.”

Rudd also wrote that the Migration Advisory Committee is to explore how the UK’s immigration system should be aligned with the government’s modern industrial strategy.

The committee will study patterns of EU and EEA migration, consider regional distribution; skill levels; industry sectors and the role of EU temps, entrepreneurs and the self-employed.

To report back by September 2018, the MAC will also gauge EU immigration’s impact on skills, training, investment and whether the Shortage Occupation List needs to be amended.

“Britain is a tolerant country, open for business and will stay that way,” Rudd told the committee. “We will remain a hub for international talent and our departure from the EU must be seen in this context.”

She added: “But sharply increased levels of net migration since 1997, from both the EU and beyond, have given rise to public concern about pressure on public services and wages.”


6th August 2017

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