As part of the Government’s Brexit pledge yesterday (19th Feb 2020), the Home Secretary announced the changes to the immigration process as a result of the cessation of the free movement of workers from January 2021

The key changes announced were:

The salary threshold to determine whether a worker qualifies for a “skilled” visa will be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600, and there would no longer be an overall cap on the number of skilled workers who could come into the UK.

Workers who do not qualify as “skilled” under these criteria would not get visas.

However, the threshold would be as low as £20,480 for people in “specific shortage occupations” including nursing, civil engineering, psychology and classical ballet dancing, or those with PhDs relevant to a specific job.

The government’s hope is that by switching off the flow of unskilled workers from the EU, it will stimulate the UK job market and/or drive through technological changes to improve productivity and efficiency.

Whilst both ideas in principle may drive these outcomes, the transition may be more complex.

I would argue we are quite far away from developing a robot with both the sensitive and responsive touch and emotional awareness to help deal with our elderly population. What’s more, it may take time for both the recruitment market and education sectors to gear up to supply the demand of roles that require qualifications and experience.

So, what can you do to prepare?

As with most sectors that require skilled labour, you will be in direct competition with your competitors. Having a clearly defined business strategy around how you will attract and retain staff will serve you in good stead.

Will you want to attract fully qualified, trained and experienced people?
If this is the case, you may have to pay a salary premium for these people or create the required reputation in the sector to prize them away from their current employers.

Will you be looking for long term commitment from these employees?
If so, you may want to look at continually benchmarking their salaries. If they have moved to you for a better salary, what would stop them moving to another employer that will offer them more?

Will you want to attract and grow your own?
If this is the case, behaviours and desire may be the key things you are looking for. How will you articulate this and measure, not only in the interview, but also in the workplace?

Do you want to develop a sector reputation as a company that provides great training?
If the answer is yes, then what will be your recruitment strategy? Would the apprenticeship route be appropriate, do you have training partners that can provide the required training for your staff?

How will you protect your people investment to stop them being poached by companies whose strategy is to recruit fully qualified, trained and experiences people?

Whichever strategy you choose, being clear on how you are going to attract and retain staff will be more and more critical as the job market evolves to reflect the post-Brexit landscape.

Companies that can think and prepare in advance will be in a better position to adapt than those who don’t.

If you’d like to know more about the impact of recent immigration changes, then please get in touch with Mark and Adam for further discussion. Contact Us