Research from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has found an overwhelming majority of professional recruitment companies are concerned about the prospect of a no deal Brexit. A membership survey found that 87 per cent of the professional recruitment firms polled are concerned about the implications should freedom of movement end in a no deal scenario. This is despite the fact that individuals from the EU will now have until at least December 2020 to apply for pre-settled or settled status.
In addition, when the same group were asked if they expect a no deal Brexit to have an immediate and significant impact on access to talent, over half (58 per cent) said ‘yes’. When quizzed on whether they believe there is sufficient access to clear guidance on the EU Settlement Scheme – a Home Office initiative designed to provide EU citizens and their families with a route to living and working in the UK after the country leaves the bloc – 55 per cent said ‘no’.
“It is unsurprising that the professional recruitment sector is worried about how the current political turmoil may impact access to talent in Britain and the rights of UK nationals working in Europe,” cemented Tania Bowers, Legal Counsel at APSCo. “While the government has now stepped away from plans to impose an overnight cut-off on free movement on October 31st, uncertainty remains.”
Among APSCo’s concerns are that UK nationals working in the EEA have very little clarity on their status in the event of a no deal Brexit. The reason being that this will depend on the position taken by each of the EU 27 separately. Furthermore, the Government’s white paper, with its focus on Tier 2 employed status, fails to consider the loss of EU self-employed contractors to the domestic workforce.
“EU citizens living and working in the UK can now apply for the Settlement Scheme, while those arriving between Brexit day and the end of 2020 will be able to apply for temporary leave to remain,” adds Bowers. “However, despite these mechanisms being in place, staffing firms and employers are left with the challenges of reassuring and supporting existing European workers and encouraging EU candidates to come to the UK at this uncertain time.”