Employment law for employers & Employment law for employees

Government’s proposed points-based immigration system – how will this impact SMEs?



The Government has announced post-Brexit plans to bring in a “points based” immigration system meaning low skilled workers will no longer qualify for visas. The plans are intended to urge employers to move away from relying on cheap labour from Europe and invest in retaining staff and developing automation technology.

Ed Marchant comments on the effect the plans will have on SMEs:

“The Migration Advisory Committee’s news about the changing immigration landscape from 1 January 2021 is likely to be a blow to SMEs who have come to rely on migrant workers. 

The proposals for the new points-based system place an increased emphasis on workers’ skill-level, salary and education (and will apply to EU workers and those from outside the EU alike).   

If the proposals become reality this will likely spell the end of easy access to an EU workforce as we know it. All industries will be affected, but it is expected to bite the healthcare, construction, farming and hospitality industries hardest. 

Whilst comments that companies can invest in technology and automation is all well and good for those with significant funds it is unrealistic for many SMEs, as is the other option to recruit workers with higher salaries, skill-levels or those with degrees. 

Businesses who will be affected will have to put careful thought and planning into ensuring they maintain a pipeline of workers – whether from UK citizens, or EU workers who have already obtained settled status.”




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