The New UK Immigration Policy’s Effect on Businesses
by Arina Smith Business 14 August 2020
Globalization has been one of the drivers of economic growth in many parts of the world. The opportunity to work in a country where your skills are in demand means anyone can seek a better life elsewhere. For many decades now, the UK has benefited significantly from migrant workers coming from all parts of the globe. But, it’s all about to change as the country prepares to adopt a new system for accepting immigrants who are intending to work, study, and eventually live in the country.
According to Manji Law, a leading immigration law firm, the new rule is likely to cause issues for working professionals in the UK. This is invariably going to lead to tighter immigration norms, Visa rules and lead to more surveillance in different areas. This will also force many people to seek help with immigration forms. Apart from the individuals themselves, businesses in the UK, who hire migrant workers and professionals will also be disturbed and their operations hit because of the changes in the new law.
What is the reason for the change?
The decision to leave the EU after almost fifty years of being a member is the main trigger for the change. While the country was still a member, anyone from the other EU countries could work and live in the UK. During this time, hundreds and thousands of workers from around the EU came to the UK for employment. This free movement helped many businesses fill their workforce requirements, especially those in the service sector. According to www.bukharichambers.com, once the new immigration laws apply, EU citizens will also be subject to strict regulations.
So what was the rationale for this decision? According to the government, the mass migration and movement from neighboring EU countries made employment harder for UK residents. Also, since workers are in high supply, it ultimately lowered wages. But many economists disagree with this decision claiming that numbers don’t support the said observation. In fact, immigration is a catalyst for creating jobs and filling the employee gap in many sectors.
What do UK businesses think about the new immigration policy?
Businesses are looking at a potentially radical change, especially the sectors that heavily rely on migrant workers. According to an estimate by the UK government, out of the more than one million EU citizens already living and working in the UK, approximately 70% of them will not qualify for a visa under the new immigration policy. Many of those who will be affected work in the agriculture sector, care homes, the medical sector, and the construction industry.
Unfortunately, British citizens aren’t always willing to fill these blue-collar jobs. Eventually, these businesses will have a hard time looking for employees; thus impacting their overall productivity. According to some business owners, automation could be a potential long-term solution, but will not help immediate worker shortages. Also, there are jobs where machines and automation are an impossible substitution.
The healthcare industry is another sector bound to suffer because of the new policy. Thousands of workers from EU countries work in the UK as caregivers. If these employees fail to secure a work visa, these healthcare facilities will have trouble finding people who will fill the empty positions. Many businesses that employ skilled workers like butchers, waiting for staff, chefs, and bakers also face the same dilemma.
In conclusion, the only silver lining to the situation is whether the government can make the new immigration system more efficient and favorable to employers and the economy in general. But it all depends on the implementation and the impending bureaucracy of the process.