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UK executives unprepared for immigration changes

June 12, 2017

A fresh study has revealed that a large number of employers in the United Kingdom are not really aware of the government's planned overhaul of immigration rules. They believe there will be little change.

Workers in the UK
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/D.Davies

Roughly half of employers in the UK looked unprepared for the government's planned changes to immigration rules after Brexit, a survey from the London-based Resolution Foundation think tank showed Monday.

About 30 percent of respondents said they expected freedom of movement to continue for citizens from the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) as long as job offers were available.

Read: Theresa May: A dead woman walking?

Another 17 percent thought there would be no change at all to the current rules, with the Resolution Foundation calling such views "totally unrealistic," given that Prime Minister Theresa May had pledged to cut immigration to the tens of thousands, regardless of businesses' demand for foreign labor.

Poles in England returning home post-Brexit

Reconciling differences

Forty-six percent of companies employing nationals from the EU or EEA said they did not expect any decline in their numbers, even though official data had already shown a sharp drop in net migration.

"There's a stark gap between what businesses want and expect from our post-Brexit immigration system and what the government has pledged to deliver," policy analyst Stephen Clarke said in a statement.

In an earlier study, he warned the danger was "that until more is known about our future migration system, firms will put off hard but necessary decisions around investment and staffing, which could have a serious impact on the UK economy."

Clarke said Monday that giving businesses enough time to plan for a new immigration regime was absolutely vital and would be particularly important for sectors like agriculture, food manufacturing, hospitality and construction.

hg/jd (Reuters, Resolution Foundation)