Business immigration: Time to future-proof recruitment
Recently, we carried out business immigration research. We found that many UK businesses rely heavily on EU talent, with 31 per cent employing over 50 EU workers and 12 per cent having more than 3,000. However most shockingly, only a quarter (24 per cent) of businesses have contingency funds in place for future international recruitment.
Proactivity is key to minimising disruption, and protecting EU workers in the UK, as well as creating methods for plugging skills gaps, is vital in this.
Tijen Ahmet, our business immigration specialist, explores the steps that businesses must take to prepare for a post-Brexit future:
Brexit uncertainty prevails, with a third of businesses noticing a decrease in the number of EU workers looking for UK employment. However, roll out of the EU Settlement Scheme ant the end of March brings a level of positivity. This registration process allows EU citizens to continue living and working in the UK from 2021 after the government’s proposed single skills-based immigration system is introduced. Nevertheless, businesses must still make preparations to ensure the stability of their workforce today.
Reviewing employees’ individual profiles can help businesses assess the size of their EU workforce, as well as auditing the immigration status of all staff. This will let organisations plan the best way to help employees secure their residency rights.
All employees’ right-to-work status should be thoroughly checked. Although part of the recruitment process pre-employment, reviewing these ensures employers are maintaining their statutory obligations to prevent illegal working in the UK.
Simple communication is an effective way of highlighting that every employee is valued, as well as informing them of what is being done to safeguard their future. There are multiple ways to provide this reassurance, from immigration workshop and webinars to business-wide survey where developing a strong relationship with the workforce so they know they are supported is vital.
Consider recruiting from outside the EU
Relying on employees securing pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme alone may not be a wise move. To truly protect themselves from a potential skills gap in the future, businesses must consider recruiting skilled roles from outside the EU, where necessary. This will lead to additional costs and responsibilities, therefore must be carefully thought about. It is also worth reviewing which global markets offer the desired skills base.
Alternatively, creating links with local universities and colleges is an important way of gaining new talent. Promoting the opportunities available at the business and liaising with careers officers is key to raising awareness of the roles that are open in the local area.
Apprenticeship schemes are another way to encourage local young people to join a business, giving organisations the chance to mould potential staff in a way that fills any skills gaps, while also supporting the younger generation.
Develop existing employees
Business relies on talent, and it is important to recognise this. Developing the skills of existing staff and promoting from within has a multitude of benefits.
The future may be uncertain at present, but businesses can still prepare and protect themselves from any recruitment issues that a post-Brexit climate will bring. A skilled workforce can be maintained through reviewing other recruitment strategies in the coming months.