Brexit and Me: How You Employ Foreign Nationals Is Going To Change Forever

Brexit and Me: How You Employ Foreign Nationals Is Going To Change Forever

The main points for employing in the hospitality and retail businesses. Remember when Boris Johnson declared to the world that when the Tories got Brexit done, the UK was going to be tougher on border protection? Well looking at his proposed new blueprints, he wasn’t bluffing… In the wake of Brexit, the Tories are looking to construct a points-based system to regain a hold of UK borders. 

Hospitality, catering and retail may be the most affected from at look of things. These sectors are predicted to be significantly impacted considering in hospitality alone, 43% of workers are foreign nationals. Before we go any further, life is all about adapting and overcoming obstacles. While there may be some negatives in the short run, here at Bizimply like to look at things from the proactive side of life.

Johnson and the Tories (are seemingly) trying to over-deliver on their promise with, an “Australian style points system”. The Australian, points based, visa system targets independent skilled migrants who want to live in Australia and then find work when they eventually arrive. The system gives power to the employer too, who is given the right to pick who he wants to live and work in the country. The UK system proposes to be tougher…

“Under the new system, Britain is to close the doors to unskilled workers and those who can’t speak English.”

there a point-based system for skilled workers like in Australia? No, or not right now at least…  The UK’s points-based system applies only to workers who are overseas who have already received a job offer from a pre-approved employer. The idea in Australia is to attract some of the best workers in the world to work and live in the country and, at the same time, give opportunities to skilled workers who can go into the labour markets right away with a sponsored employer. 

When we look at the breakdown of figures, only 38% of skilled workers have sponsor nominated visas while 54% are independent workers. It’s looking like the UK points system employer sponsor might take away high skilled individuals who don’t have the right contacts for sponsorship, in essence excluding them… 

What the new system looks like

The system is looking to take “full control” of British borders for the “first time in decades” and migrants will have to have 70 points if they were to come and work in the UK. Migrants will need a sponsor (20 points), a required level of English (10 points) and will have to be skilled enough for the job at hand (20 points).  According to the Guardian, borders will be closed for unskilled workers. 

Anyone that passes the first three requirements will need to have a salary offered to them above a £25,600 threshold. There may be cases where the UK government may make an exception: the salary “floor” of £20,480 will be allowed in some cases for skill shortage occupations. For self-employed individuals, there will be no entry for them, but for artists, sports people, musicians and entertainers they will be allowed to enter for shows and games. 

Under the new system, Britain is to close the doors to unskilled workers and those who can’t speak English. Some officials think around 70% of EU migrants allowed into the UK under current rules would be blocked under the new rules. Luckily for the 3.2 million EU citizens for in the UK who already work and live in the UK, they will be allowed to stay.  

Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry warned that in “some sectors, firms would be left wondering how they would recruit the people needed to run their businesses. With already low unemployment, firms in care, construction, hospitality, food and drink could be most affected.”

“Fostering a happy company culture where your employees are delighted to turn up to work will surely help your staff retention.”

We have known this for some time. In 2017 Pret a Manger warned that only one in 50 applicants for jobs in its stores were British and 65% of its staff came from other countries in the European Union.

The changes are going even further than some Brexit supporters in the sector wanted. In 2017 Tim Martin, the founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon and a vocal Brexit campaigner, said Britain could not afford to put the brake on immigration. He called for a special deal for EU workers which took advantage of its proximity compared with countries such as India and China. Wetherspoons employs between 2,000 and 3,000 staff from other EU countries.

The new proposals ignore this argument, but could yet be challenged in the trade talks with the European Union. EU negotiators have warned that, precisely because of the UK’s proximity to Ireland and continental Europe, any future trade deal must differ from those already struck by the EU with, for example, Canada, Japan and South Korea, taking into account factors including labour mobility.

Company Culture and Employee Engagement 

We know that the hospitality industry has quite a high staff turnover rate (we are looking at a 70% turnover rate). This is the perfect opportunity for your company to capitalise not only a customer experience, but also your very own company culture. Fostering a happy company culture where your employees are delighted to turn up to work will surely help your staff retention. Technology can lend a hand of course. 

It also means moving away from what the current government called, “cheap labour”. With the living wage being raised by 6.2% in April, will hurt some businesses so now is the time to prepare for any eventualities. 

The government’s response in anticipation of further criticism that “It is important employers move away from a reliance on the UK’s immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity and wider investment in technology and automation” was met by incredulity in some quarters. There are limits to how far, and to what effect, you can automate baristas or waiting staff.

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