29 March 2018
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its interim report on its assessment of the UK labour market after the UK leaves the EU. Whilst the final report is expected to be published in September, the interim report summarises over 400 responses from businesses, industry bodies and government departments.
In summary, businesses told MAC that they do not deliberately seek to fill vacancies with migrant workers but they tend to employ EEA workers because they are the best and sometimes only qualified workers available.
Many employers believe EEA workers are more motivated and flexible than UK born workers – they are willing to work longer hours, welcome overtime and are often better qualified than UK born workers. Their employment could also be put down to the unattractiveness of the role or the local unemployment rate especially for low skilled roles.
Businesses in all sectors are worried about the potential restrictions on employing EEA workers in the future and would like to have access to both low skilled and high skilled workers. Some businesses have reported a shortage of workers since the referendum and in particular there are shortages in seasonal labour. As a result of shortages in migrant labour, crops are not being harvested or picked.
A National Farmers Union (NFU) seasonal labour survey revealed that there was a shortfall of over 1500 workers in May 2017. Many workers were not returning to the UK and fewer workers were applying. Responses indicated that this could be put down to the perception that EU workers were no longer welcome in the UK.
A summary of responses from can be found here.