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Firms call for certainty on future of EU staff post-Brexit
BUSINESSES in Northamptonshire are among those concerned at the future residency status of employees from the EU following the vote by the UK to leave the European Union.
Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce is calling on the government to provide immediate certainty for both businesses and employees on the residence rights of existing EU employees.
The potential skills lost from existing EU workers leaving the UK would hamper businesses at a time when many are already reporting recruitment difficulties.
Businesses also need clarity on hiring from the 27 other EU countries during the transition period, the Chamber says.
More than 200 Chamber members that employ EU staff from across the East Midlands – including members of Northamptonshire Chamber – voiced their fears in a survey undertaken a month after the referendum vote.
Its results show that a small number of businesses (3%) have seen EU employees resign already following the June 23 vote, while 5% of businesses have reported that their EU employees have stated their intention to leave the UK.
Northamptonshire Chamber is also urging the government to create a future immigration policy that allows businesses to plug their skills shortages with employees from the EU, with minimal bureaucracy, cost or barriers.
Chief executive Paul Griffiths (pictured) said that there is still a significant skills gap throughout Northamptonshire. While it is vital that the government continues to address this through expanding apprenticeships and vocational training, businesses need to be able to access the specialist skills and talent that they need from all of the world, not just a part of it.
Mr Griffiths added: “Since the referendum, member firms have expressed concern over the future status of their existing EU workforce. These hardworking people are absolutely vital to the success of businesses, and must be retained – we cannot afford to lose talented and skilled workers.
“Therefore we call on Theresa May to reassure them as soon as possible that they will have the right to remain in the UK, to provide much-needed certainty both for EU employees and UK employers.
“The government must also clarify how new EU hires will be treated, as many businesses also say they are uncertain about whether the people they wish to recruit will be able to continue working with them in future.
"A sensible immigration policy that allows businesses to plug difficult skills gaps should go hand in hand with sustained investment in training UK workers for the jobs of the present and the future.
“Guaranteeing the rights of EU workers is just one of the major issues that the new government needs to make, and quickly. Decisions on airport and rail expansion are long overdue, which along with action on infrastructure investment will be crucial to solidifying business confidence and laying the foundations for continued economic growth across the county of Northamptonshire”
- Nearly a fifth (18%) of companies that employ EU workers say EU staff have expressed uncertainty over their future residency status;
- 3% of businesses that employ EU workers have seen EU employees resign following the vote to leave the European Union;
- 5% of businesses have seen their EU employees state their intention to leave the UK;
- 35% of businesses surveyed think residency guarantees for EU workers would have a positive impact on their business, whilst 40% said it would have no impact and a further 23% said they were unsure or it was not applicable – only 2% said it would have a negative impact.
- More than two fifths (41%) of companies that employ EU workers say EU staff have expressed uncertainty over their future residency status;
- 5% of businesses that employ EU workers have seen EU employees resign following the vote to leave the European Union;
- 10% of businesses have seen their EU employees state their intention to leave the UK;
- 60% of businesses surveyed think residency guarantees for EU workers would have a positive impact on their business (the remaining 28% said it would have no impact and a further 9% said they were unsure or it was not applicable).
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