U.K. employers “will need to adjust” to not being able to recruit unskilled workers from Europe, according to a new report | Matt Cardy/Getty Images
UK shuts the door to unskilled migrants
British government tells employers to ‘adjust’ to not being able to recruit low-skilled workers from Europe.
Updated 2/18/20, 11:47 PM CET
LONDON — The U.K. government will not create a visa route for low-skilled migrants and temporary workers in its post-Brexit immigration system, which will give “top priority” to those with the highest skills, including scientists, engineers and academics.
A policy paper published Tuesday evening outlines plans for a new points-based system after EU freedom of movement ends in December. The report said employers “will need to adjust” to not being able to recruit unskilled workers from Europe.
“We need to shift the focus of our economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation. Employers will need to adjust,” the paper said.
“It is important that employers move away from a reliance on the U.K.’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity and wider investment in technology and automation.”
Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general of the employers’ group CBI, said firms in the care, construction, hospitality, food and drink sectors could be most affected.
“In some sectors firms will be left wondering how they will recruit the people needed to run their businesses,” she said. “Firms know that hiring from overseas and investing in the skills of their workforce and new technologies is not an ‘either or’ choice — both are needed to drive the economy forward.”
The report recognizes the proposals represent “a significant change” for employers in the U.K.,