EU citizens looking for work in UK falls 36% since Brexit

The government’s new immigration policies make it harder for foreign nationals to fill hospitality roles

Rory Sullivan@RorySullivan92
Thursday 17 June 2021 12:39
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<p>European interest in low-paid jobs in the UK has fallen dramatically since 2019. </p>

European interest in low-paid jobs in the UK has fallen dramatically since 2019.

The number of EU citizens searching for work in the UK has slumped by 36 per cent since Brexit, a new report has revealed.

Research by jobs site Indeed found that interest in low-paid roles in hospitality and retail had plummeted the most, falling 41 per cent from 2019 levels.

The government’s new immigration policies, which prioritise “skilled” workers, make it harder for foreign nationals to fill such roles, Indeed said.

This comes as business groups have warned that the dwindling number of EU workers will lead to labour shortages.

Such fear appears to be borne out by the hospitality sector, which has struggled in recent months to recruit staff following the easing of the third national lockdown.

As a result, Tim Martin, the Wetherspoon’s owner who supported a hard Brexit, has called on the government to introduce a “reasonably liberal” visa scheme to attract foreign nationals to work in the UK.

“A reasonably liberal immigration system controlled by those we have elected, as distinct from the EU system, would be a plus for the economy and the country,” he told The Daily Telegraph earlier this month.

“America, Australia and Singapore have benefitted for many decades from this approach. Immigration combined with democracy works,” he added.

The Indeed report also highlighted that Europeans were now less interested in seeking higher-paid positions in the UK after Brexit. However, the research showed that demand from non-Europeans has plugged this shortfall.

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said “two distinct pictures” were emerging for British employers wishing to hire foreign staff.

Sectors such as tech, science and engineering would not have much difficulty in recruiting workers, but lower-pay industries could struggle to fill vacancies.

Mr Kennedy said: “It means domestic workers may be required to fill the gaps.

“However, with many sectors, including hospitality, already struggling to recruit all the staff they need, higher salaries may be required to attract UK workers to fill those roles.”

In total, 1.3 million non-UK workers have left the country since late 2019 following the twin shocks of Brexit and the pandemic.

Additional reporting from PA

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