The REC Have Announced a 21 Point Recommended Immigration Policy

As I think we’re all well aware by now, Brexit, or ‘looming Brexit’ as people poetically coin the phrase, is having a shocking impact on the UK jobs market and economy. Sterling is tossing and turning in a sweltering fever dream, and applications from across the continent are way down. As recruitment consultants (and especially as language recruiters), we’re caught in a slow, nipping ebb that doesn’t know which way it wants to turn. Are we going to be pulled out to sea or stranded in scorched sand? There’s just no telling.

Baying for a conscientious approach to immigration and migrant work from the Eurozone, The Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) last week called for, “impartial, expert advice rather than politics to avoid risks to the jobs market and the economy.”

Although uncertainty swirls in the airs over the UK, official data shows the UK employment rate is 74.8 per cent, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. This only goes to reinforce the need for considered Brexit negotiations which will seek to bolster Britain’s strong employment rate. Further highlighting the facts, REC’s latest report is a comprehensive analysis of how the 2.2 million EU nationals currently participating in the UK labour market contribute by sector and region.

Unsurprisingly the figures are pretty damning in the face of ‘Hard Brexit talks:

–  EU nationals represent 7 per cent of the total UK labour force, but reliance is higher in sectors such as manufacturing (11 per cent of the workforce / 319,300 workers), retail and hospitality (9 per cent / 520,100 workers) and construction (8 per cent / 192,400 workers)

–  The proportion of EU workers is much higher in specific industries, including food processing (33 per cent of the workforce / 116,400 workers), domestic personnel (26 per cent / 15,700 workers) and warehousing (18 per cent / 64,900 workers)

–  EU nationals make up 17 per cent of the workforce in London, including 33% of its construction workers and 21%  of its retail and hospitality staff. The financial and business service sector is the largest employer of EU nationals in the capital with 191,400 employees, or 16 per cent of the workforce.  

Based on these findings, the REC has outlined a total of 21 recommendations which they believe the government ought to act upon. Devolving power from the government, amongst other things, they suggest:

–  Greater autonomy be granted to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), in order to inform policy and establish targets.

–  A five year roadmap be created which outlines how the new immigration policy will be implemented, providing clarity to businesses.

–  The building of a visa system that is sympathetic to the UK’s reliance upon EU workers, including seasonal and temporary workers.

The full list of recommendations can be found here: Building the Post-Brexit Immigration System

Speaking on the report’s findings, REC chief executive Kevin Green added:

“Decisions about the future immigration system are too important to be subject to political whim – we need policy to be built on sound evidence and data. This report is a significant contribution to the critical debate on immigration. It shows that businesses need access to people to deliver growth, and that the current UK workforce alone cannot meet demand.

“Designing the post-Brexit immigration system is an enormous task and it cannot happen only in Whitehall. Recruiters are on the front-line of the labour market, and we are ready to work with the government to design and deliver policies that will help the country prosper.”

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