There are around 2.1 million EU nationals working in the UK. There is a high probability your business employs at least one.
The referendum result has had profound implications on business and its workforce. Employers have told us that fluctuations in the exchange rate, and the uncertainty surrounding the rights of workers to remain, have resulted in some EU employees feeling unsettled and even leaving the UK.
Government's intentions on immigration
The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals living in the UK will be safeguarded.
The future immigration framework remains uncertain. Employers should look out for the government’s Immigration White Paper which will set out its proposed approach including any restrictions on future workers from the EU, handling of sectoral skills needs, and any new application processes.
Businesses should plan on the basis of:
- continued exchange rate fluctuations
- increased government focus and regulation on employer workforce relations
- an end to the free movement of people between the UK and the EU.
How to prepare for any Brexit outcome
Conduct a residency audit
Government has made high-level agreements to EU citizens regarding their right to remain.
Broadly speaking there are two categories. While those who have five years of residence will be entitled to Settled Status, everyone else will be covered by a temporary worker category.
Conduct a residency audit to understand who in your workforce is likely to be affected.
Consider potential impact of changes
While details around the future UK immigration framework are still to be agreed, employers can get a sense of potential implications by exploring:
- how you currently engage non-EU workers;
- how practices might need to change and what are the cost implications; and
- whether you have capacity to manage increased administrative requirements.
Book a Brexit workshop
To book a Brexit workshop or find out more about how we can support your business through Brexit, please contact your usual adviser or email us.
Improve current employment practices
Identify opportunities to streamline procedures and implement efficiencies. This includes evaluating the make-up of your current mobile population and understanding the impact of increasing costs of international assignments.
Position yourself as an employer of choice
Reduced access to EU labour, coupled with a fall in the pound impacting on international workers, means businesses need to work hard to retain and attract the skills they need.
Ensure your employee value proposition is as attractive as it can be. Consider:
- developing and reviewing remuneration packages, benefits and incentive schemes with an increased focus on non-cash benefits; and
- providing assistance with citizenship applications and work-permits.
Leadership is vital to success.
Create a robust and effective engagement plan with employees to maintain their focus and trust.
Develop domestic talent
Explore alternative solutions to sourcing labour.
Automation provides business with an opportunity to both reduce reliance on low-skilled labour and invest for the future.
The UK is only slightly ahead of the global average when it comes the use of robotics, meaning lots of opportunity for growth.