Speaking during last week’s Conservative Party Conference Theresa May has announced the end of free movement “once and for all”.
With Theresa May’s announcement that EU workers will no longer be given priority after Brexit, UK businesses will be looking for reassurance that suitable workers will be available for their needs and hoping to be given a clear indication of the government vision for post-Brexit recruitment.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has suggested that the government may opt to liberalise the current cap on highly-skilled workers as per the recommendation of the Migratory Advisory Committee. As UK companies currently face a record high-skills shortage this would be welcomed by UK business but could have negative effects on low-skilled sectors such as agriculture, care and hospitality.
Our members have already warned in recent months of the importance of straightforward access to skilled-workers post-Brexit but it is also crucial that, in order to compete at a global level, UK business must have access to a global talent pool suitable to its varied requirements.
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC), in a release issued by the BCC, said:
“Ministers must recognise that businesses in every corner of the UK are facing severe skills gaps at every level and must be able to recruit great people from both here at home and from overseas. Immigration policy is not just about the ‘best and brightest’, but straightforward access to the skills needed to help grow our economy.”
The new announcement marks a fundamental shift from the status-quo and – as with much of the Brexit negotiations – UK business asks for clarity, detail and practical advice in order to take the necessary steps to prepare for any challenges that may be posed after the conclusion of Brexit negotiations.
As chambers of commerce representing London, Greater Manchester and Bristol we are continuing to gather evidence for a campaign – Terms of Trade: the reality of Brexit for business – exploring the everyday impacts of the most widely discussed Brexit scenarios on business through our members’ own insights. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to share your views.