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CIPD calls for changes to immigration proposals

20 September 2019

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Employers are not ready for the introduction of new immigration restrictions according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The CIPD report published today urged the government to make immigration policy more flexible and user-friendly and highlighted a lack of awareness of the government’s January 2021 plans among most employers.

The report said a lack of planning and ongoing political uncertainty also means that few organisations are equipped to deal with the potentially reduced inflow of EU workers post-Brexit.

Based on findings from a survey of more than 2,182 employers and focus groups held with employers across the UK, the report A practical immigration system for post-Brexit Britain recommends the introduction of a two-year visa system for unskilled workers.

It also calls for the proposed £30,000 minimum salary threshold for jobs on the shortage occupation list to be lowered, and for the introduction of a new self-service system for low volume users of the sponsorship system like small employers.

The research found that more than half of employers are in the dark about the government’s immigration proposals, with 58 per cent saying they didn’t know anything about the white paper on immigration.

More than half (56 per cent) of employers said they didn’t have enough information to start making decisions about their post-Brexit recruitment strategy, with just 27 per cent saying they are happy to make decisions based on existing information. 

The government’s planned 12-month temporary visa was either “not very useful” or “not useful at all”, according to 51 per cent of respondents, while just 28 per cent said it would be useful to them.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser for the CIPD, said: "Very few employers are ready for the end of free movement and restrictions on immigration in just over a year. Worse still, many seem both daunted and alarmed by the range of restrictions planned and the costs they are likely to incur. Even if they can access the talent they need, there are concerns they may not be able to afford it. In response, the planned introduction of migration restrictions must be phased in to offset the risk of a labour supply shock and to avoid harming UK competitiveness.”

He added that it appeared inevitable that the rate of inflow of EU citizens into the UK from 2021 will fall compared with recent years. “With so few employers ready, we need a ‘safety buffer’ to give them more time to adjust. We need a set of workable policies that apply across all sectors that are simple, low-cost, fair and user friendly for both employers and non-UK citizens. However, the current timetable and balance is working against the short-term interests of employers and EU citizens.” 

The CIPD report can be accessed here.

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Legal services Technical legal practice Employment