59% of UK small businesses are worried that immigration rules post-Brexit will damage their ability to recruit suitable staff, according to a report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The What Small Firms Want From Brexit report, which surveyed 1,236 FSB members, revealed that 56% of ‘EU-employers’ are worried about any changes to current employment legislation whatsoever – with 13% even considering moving their operations abroad or shutting their doors altogether.
With regards current staff, 72% of respondents said they recruited said employees while they were already in the UK, while 95% have no experience in the current “points-based “system for obtaining work permits for non-EU citizens.
In its recommendation to the government, the FSB urged Theresa May to guarantee the rights of EU nationals currently living in the UK, with a transition period of three years until new legislation affects new workers coming into the UK.
Despite the worries, just 21% of small firms currently employ EU workers.
Mike Cherry, FSB chairman, said:
“EU workers are a vital part of our economy, helping to plug chronic skills gaps across a wide range of sectors, and filling jobs in an already tight labour market.
“From packers, to mechanics, to graphic designers, small employers need to be able to hire the right person, for the right job at the right time.”
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