UK corporates worried about Brexit are already losing EU workers, according to the latest research from immigration law firm, Migrate UK. The report reveals 39 per cent of employers said they have already lost EU workers because they are either returning home or leaving to work in another country, while 67 percent are leaving due to an uncertain future and unknown future immigration legal requirements.
Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Italy and France are the top five most popular relocation destinations for departing employees since Brexit, despite 59 per cent of employers paying out up to £100,000 on extra benefits to retain much needed EU skills. The extras include pay rises, extra bonuses and even private schooling fees. According to latest Office for National Statistics figures, net long term migration to the UK from the EU was 101,000 last year the lowest level since the year ending March 2013. Independent think tank, Global Future claims the fall in immigration since Brexit is already costing the UK more than £1bn a year. One in five small businesses now rely on skills and labour from the EU, while organisations across all sectors have long been restricted from hiring outside the EU due to the Tier 2 visa cap, which will soon exclude National Health Service staff, all of which has led to a major shortage in skills across multiple UK industries. Migrate UK found that out of the 1,000 HR directors polled, 66 per cent have struggled to find sufficient skills since the Brexit referendum, particularly within the banking (86 per cent), finance (83 per cent) and IT (79 per cent) sectors.
More will leave
The study involved organisations who currently employ 250+ staff in the UK and was carried out the same time the Government unveiled its new, and much needed, EU Settlement process and planned residency rules to help EU citizens remain in the UK post Brexit. A combined 67 percent of HR directors reported that an uncertain future and unknown immigration legal requirements after an EU exit were the main reasons why workers were leaving the UK, with 18 per cent saing their workers feel unwanted and 14 percent were being enticed away by more attractive employment packages overseas. Jonathan Beech, managing director at Migrate UK, explained ‘the Government’s recently proposed EU Settlement Scheme, granting settle status to EU citizens who have lived continuously in Britain for five years, will certainly help to stabilise the skills situation but, after two years of uncertainty, the Government needs to give some form of guarantee that the status of EU workers in the UK is legally binding and safeguarded against any threat of change in the future, otherwise EU workers will just continue to leave.’