Following the government’s publication of the Brexit white paper, The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, the REC and others have commented on what this could mean for the UK employment market.
Commenting on the Brexit white paper, The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union, published by the government today (12 July 2018) the Recruitment & Confederation’s chief executive, Neil Carberry says:
“There is a pragmatism to this White Paper that is welcome, even at this late hour,” said REC chief executive Neil Carberry. “Government has taken on board many business concerns about the smooth operation of our economy as we leave the EU.”
Carberry is clear that recruiters need Britain to have a comprehensive mobility deal with the EU to support national prosperity. The White Paper suggests this may be possible, but, adds Carberry, it leaves too many questions unanswered.
“Access to the UK for EU workers after the transition period should be based on coming to make a contribution, not a numerical target,” he says. “Those with a job should be able to work here, plugging labour shortages as record numbers of people are in employment.
“We want to see eligibility to work attached to individuals rather than through sponsorship with an employer – so people are not tied to a single employer one they are here,” he adds referring to the new research published by the REC this week which says that British firms could come unstuck in key sectors like food supply if the government does not allow employers to continue to access temporary and seasonal workers from the European Union (EU) after Brexit.
Meanwhile, Peninsula employment law director Alan Price has also been studying the 98 page Brexit blueprint noting that while the suggested provisions are still to be negotiated and confirmed, the paper seems to confirm a number of areas within employment law that have been previously announced.
“Already being considerably ahead of many Member States’ domestic legislation on modern working practices, all current rights and privileges would remain in place post-Brexit,” says Price. “The blueprint appears to indicate that employment rights will not be diminished by Brexit, as it includes a commitment to the “non-regression” of labour standards.”
Price notes the blueprint also confirms that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) would also have no further sway over any legal decisions in the UK, bringing accountability over UK laws back to the UK.
“Again a reiteration of details published this week, the blueprint provides for a new framework which will allow previously established EU workers to remain in the UK by applying for ‘settled status’,” he sats. “As has been already confirmed, any Irish workers will have ‘special status’ and can remain in the UK indefinitely.”
Price says that while the paper serves to support the idea of there being ‘no automatic right’ to work in the UK, it also hints at potential ‘reciprocal arrangements’ that would allow businesses to move talented staff in certain situations. Additionally, workers travelling for temporary business reasons would also be able to move through countries without extensive questioning.