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31/07/2021

Number of Non-UK residents seeking work falls post Brexit

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Figures from a survey carried out by the job website ‘Indeed’ has shown the struggle to recruit staff since Brexit. The survey found that the number of Non-UK residents looking to work in Britain has dropped by more than a third since Brexit. The report shows a sharp decline in interest among jobseekers which was not seen in other countries. This means that the tougher post-Brexit immigration rules have more impact than the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figures from the jobs website Indeed’s show searches by EU-based jobseekers for work in the UK were down by 36% in May compared to average levels in 2019. Low-paid jobs in hospitality, the care sector and warehouses showed the biggest declines at 41%.

Business leaders predict that the lack of overseas workers will adversely affect the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19. About 1.3 million non-UK workers have left the UK since late 2019 to their birth country to see the pandemic. Many have not returned due to the travel restrictions due to the pandemic and the risk to their health in public-facing job roles. However, Indeed’s survey said that Brexit had triggered this migration before the pandemic had played its role.

Tim Martin, the Brexit-supporting boss of JD Wetherspoon, has called on the government to launch a visa scheme for EU workers to help pubs and restaurants recruit more staff.

Official figures report a decrease in the numbers of EU citizens coming to Britain since the Brexit vote in 2016. However, there has been a steady rise in non-EU workers, led by Commonwealth nations such as India and the former British territory of Hong Kong. Although, this has not been enough to offset the falling EU interest.

A UK economist at Indeed, Jack Kennedy, said employers in higher-paying sectors such as tech, science and engineering were the main areas where EU jobseekers were being replaced.

He added, “lower-paid roles are not receiving the same attention from foreign workers as they did only two years ago. It means domestic workers may be required to fill the gaps; however, with many sectors including hospitality which has already been struggling to recruit all the staff they need, higher salaries may be required to attract UK workers to fill those roles.”

Government studies have shown EU migrants do not actually suppress UK workers’ wages. With official labour market figures yet to demonstrate a higher rate of wage growth in 2021 than usual. In time businesses in some sectors say they may have to increase pay rates to attract British workers in their place.

Source: The Guardian

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