Post Brexit recruitment challenges - Report shows unprecedented candidate shortage for UK jobs

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11 August, 2021

Amy Stokes
Partner & Head of Business Immigration

The latest KPMG and Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) report on jobs survey showed recruitment activity surged in June amid greater demand for staff and the return to more normal business conditions as coronavirus lockdown measures eased.

However, the availability of workers to fill the vacancies declined at an unprecedented rate in both permanent and temporary staff. Rising demand for staff to fill vacancies resulted in the sharpest salary inflation rate in almost 24 years of data collection.

The lack of available candidates continued to decline rapidly in July, driven by "concerns over job security due to the pandemic, a lack of European workers due to Brexit, and a generally low unemployment rate", the report by KPMG and the said.

It is undeniable that the impact of Brexit and the ending of free movement of people between the UK and the EU is starting to present itself following the deadline for EU nationals to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme on the 30th of June.

Due to the stricter immigration rules now in place, fewer people are travelling to the UK from the European Union to look for work which is resulting in a recruitment crisis.

Under the current immigration rules, in most circumstances, employers wanting to recruit EEA nationals will now need a Home Office sponsor licence. The same applies if you wish to employ non-EEA nationals from elsewhere in the world.

Anyone that an employer recruits from outside the UK for the Skilled Worker route will need to demonstrate that:

  • they have a job offer from a Home Office licensed sponsor;
  • they speak English at the required level;
  • the job offer is at the required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level);
  • that they will be paid at least £25,600 or the "going rate" for the job offer, whichever is higher.

It is possible to trade characteristics, such as their qualifications or a role in a specific shortage occupation, against a lower salary to get the required number of points.

The combination of Brexit and Covid has seen employers struggle with recruitment into roles once held by EU workers. This is having a real impact on the tech, hospitality, construction and agricultural sectors.

The Home Office are yet to comment on the current recruitment shortage however we have noticed an increased number of clients facing this issue. Many are now looking at obtaining a sponsor licence to enable them to recruit from outside the UK.

If you would like any further guidance regarding the sponsor licence application process or recruitment of non-UK migrants, please get in touch with our Business Immigration team.

For more information contact Amy Stokes in our Business Immigration department via email or phone on 0333 207 1157. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

Learn more about our Business Immigration department here

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