Are there immediate immigration insecurities for businesses vis-à-vis Brexit?
On 18th January 2017 at Lancaster House, Theresa May declared in her Brexit speech that “you cannot control immigration overall when there is free movement to Britain from Europe.” Evidently, this suggests that there is a serious concern regarding the EU principle of free movement of people for those remaining within the UK.
Several proposals have arisen, such as the UK to adopt an Australian-style points based system, in which resident permits that can last from three to five years and work permits that last for as little as two years has evoked considerable concern. This is because a staggering 6.6% of the workforce in the UK is already made up of EU nationals, immediately depicting that the UK’s economy heavily relies on foreign labour.
Not only this, but there are also startling statistics surrounding areas such as hospitality, in which firms are requiring at least 60,000 new EU workers to fill vacancies, according to KPMG. These forms of controls could destruct the UK Hospitality industry, as well as retail and hotel industries. As described by the Head of Employment Skills at the Institute of Directors, Seamus Nevin, controls on immigration could prove to be a “bureaucratic nightmare” for firms all over the UK.
Therefore, it could be questioned:
Is there a positive future for business profitability in the UK, amid Brexit negotiations?
Imminently, we have already seen net migration drastically drop to 246,000- its lowest level within three years. In knowing full well that business providers pivot majorly on the labour of non-British nationals, this is not a positive outlook. With Theresa May’s pledge to reduce net migration to a lower amount of 100,000 and not forgetting to mention the cloud of uncertainty over Brexit negotiations, the commercial future can be argued to be indefinitely uncertain.
Furthermore, immigration controls will no doubt have a negative short-term impact on business profitability, in hindsight of the future of the British economy. Therefore, although there is the need to “prevent a massive influx of people”, as according to Chris Grayling, May must tread carefully when negotiating with the EU as to immigration controls.
Author: Ellie Ioannou