A recent study has been revealed that highlights that an astonishing ¾ of EU citizens working currently within the UK, would not meet the visa regulations for non EU workers in the case that the country decided to leave the EU. With the pending referendum decision approaching on the 23rd of June, this is worrying times for EU citizens within the UK.
Oxford University’s Migration Observatory (OUMO) conducted the report, which revealed that after the changes (that have already been implemented as of April), the overall rate would rise to 81%.
The statistics showed the true extent of what would happen in the event of a Brexit (Britain-Exit). It was revealed that these results would incur a sizeable amount of damage on hotels, restaurants and farms. At the moment, there are 94%-96% of EU workers employed in these sectors that would fail to meet the new entry regulations. Those who provide an immigration service within the country have already experienced an influx of enquiries due to the potential and alarming impact of this move.
The more welcomed news is that the research did report that the UK would potentially have to look to change the immigration requirements or at least ease them, if the country did in fact choose leave the EU in order to accommodate for EU immigration. The leaders of the Leave campaign have also stated that those who are already settled within Britain, would be entitled to remain and have their rights be ‘unaffected’, according to their spokesperson.
OUMO’s stats clearly identify the large problem British employers would face in regards to staffing if the UK government decides to limit immigration numbers from the EU. Currently, there is close to 2.2m EU workers in Britain, which makes up for almost 7% of the total workforce of the UK.
Carlos Vargas Silva – the report author – spoke in light of the data by saying ‘Most sectors of the UK Labour market now have a significant EU migrant workforce — and many of these are lower-paid sectors, such as hotels and manufacturing. Even if the immigration system is redesigned after a Brexit vote, any system that selects EU workers based on skills and pay is likely to hit these sectors hardest.’
1. Finance & Banking = 360,000 workers (6.8% of the whole sector)
2. Retail, Hotels & Restaurants = 442,000 are currently employed (8% of the 5.7m of the workforce)
3. Energy, Transport & Construction = ¾ of EU workers won’t qualify
4. Manufacturing = Have more than 10% of EU workers in the 3m total workforce, which is more than any other sector.
Oxford have based their research on the data from the Labour Force Survey (the largest household survey in the UK). They carefully analysed ILR figures as well as the Tier 2 skilled worker visa route for non EU workers. Taking these figures and applying it the pre-existing British, European workforce numbers.
It is worth noting however that the only hold up with this conclusion is that the new figures don’t account for the flow of workers coming in and out of Britain. With only 3 weeks left to go, the world is eagerly anticipating which way the final verdict will go and what will happen to the EU workers in the case that Britain do leave.