Call for flexible, affordable and straightforward immigration system

21 June 2017


As Brexit negotiations begin, new CIPD research highlights the need for a flexible, affordable and straightforward immigration system.


New research by the CIPD and the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) analyses employers’ perspectives on migration restrictions following the end of free movement. It is based on a survey of more than 1,000 organisations, employer focus groups held around the UK and in-depth interviews with HR leaders.


Key findings include:


  • The main reason employers recruit EU nationals is because they cannot fill low or semi-skilled jobs with UK-born applicants, cited by 35% of low-wage industry firms

  • 25% of organisations say a requirement for a job offer for EU migrants would have a negative impact on them.

  • One in ten (11%) of businesses say the number of EU nationals they have recruited since Brexit has decreased

  • In response to what could be significantly reduced access to EU worker skills alongside the need to retain EU market access, 1 in 5 organisations say they are considering relocating all or part of their UK operations outside the UK (11%) or will focus future growth outside the UK (9%).


The end of free movement of people from the EU will damage UK businesses and public service delivery unless post-Brexit immigration policies take account of the need for both skilled and unskilled labour from the EU. This is a key message in the new research from the CIPD and NIESR.

It also calls on businesses to broaden their recruitment and people development strategies to ensure they are doing all they can to attract and develop UK born workers, and highlights the need for significant changes to Government skills policy.


Read more about this research from the CIPD - Facing the future: tackling labour and skills shortages post-Brexit.