CIPD: Straightforward immigration system required for UK

Wednesday 21 June 2017

A more straightforward immigration system is necessary in order for the UK economy to properly manage the challenges of Brexit. 

This is the key message from research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR). 

Some 11 per cent of companies believe the number of EU nationals they have recruited since Brexit has dropped, while one in five organisations are considering relocating all or part of their British operations outside of the UK (11 per cent). 

As well as this, nine per cent said they will focus future growth away from the country.

The researchers call for companies to diversify their recruitment and people development strategies to make sure they are doing everything possible to attract and develop British workers. 

The report, entitled Facing the future: tackling labour and skills shortages post-Brexit, advises new policies for EU nationals should be linked as closely as possible to the current points-based system. 

As well as this, the study suggests the government should make sure they do not introduce a complicated selection of sector or region-based immigration policies, as this could lead to inequality and unfairness. 

Another recommendation is to make sure any changes to immigration policy for EU citizens must be introduced at the end of a three-year transitional period after negotiations are over.

Brexit is likely to have a knock-on effect for the self-employed, who may find more opportunities as businesses struggle to source the right candidates. 

To make the most of their opportunities, freelancers should hire a specialist accountant, who will be able to check if they fall inside or outside of IR35. This regulation could have a significant impact on their earnings and should be addressed as soon as possible.  

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, commented: “Access to skilled and un-skilled labour is a huge concern for employers. 

“If the government does not provide a straightforward, flexible and affordable immigration system for EU nationals post Brexit, as set out in our recommendations, significant numbers of employers are likely to face real skill shortages which may hold back their growth and performance.”

Mr Cheese went on to say that an “overly blinkered approach” focused on reducing immigration to tens of thousands and prioritising high skilled employees could have a negative impact on companies. 

He added that, even though businesses are aware Brexit will cause them to look harder for staff, many are already doing so and struggling to source the right candidates. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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