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28-08-2018

EU migration falls sharply

Today’s migration statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show a fall in net EU migration, driven by a fall in EU citizens coming to the UK.

Commenting, Recruitment & Employment Confederation director of policy Tom Hadley says: 

‘The UK labour market is already tight with employers and recruiters struggling to fill vacancies across a range of sectors. Today’s immigration figures show that the UK is still attracting fewer EU nationals here to work than before the referendum, a decline to the lowest level in nearly 5 years.


‘Ongoing uncertainty on what the exit deal with the EU will look like and a weaker pound are contributing to making the UK less appealing to EU workers to come here and work. For our jobs market to thrive, UK employers need a comprehensive mobility and migration deal with the EU post-Brexit to ensure that private and public sector organisations can continue to secure the permanent, temporary and seasonal workers they need to be successful.
‘The UK immigration system shouldn’t be based on arbitrary quotas, but based on the contribution individual workers come to make. Severely reducing the number of EU workers coming to the UK will make British firms less competitive which will dampen growth and limit national prosperity for us all.’

This summary from our largest trade body, the REC, reflects the strange situation the country now faces. EU migration, which we cannot yet control, declines due to Brexit uncertainty, the weak pound and more attractive options elsewhere, while non EU immigration, which we can control, rises substantially. A very strange world we are in.

In terms of labour users and recruitment agencies, the implications for the forthcoming Christmas peak are concerning. With a record low percentage of unemployed people, staff shortages will undoubtedly occur.

We are speaking to all our customers in the knowledge that minimal wages and uncertain hours are unlikely to be conducive to recruiting a good and stable workforce any more. Employers will need to stand out to attract the cream of available candidates far more than of late. The days when a rock solid team of Eastern Europeans would work happily for Minimum Wage have gone and those organisations who recognise this will be far better placed than those who ignore the changing demographics.
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