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Employers need EU

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16 February 2017

With the date for triggering Article 50 rapidly approaching, indications from the Government are that the UK will leave the single market and will no longer have to comply with EU rules on freedom of movement.

What no-one yet knows, however, is what sort of a deal, if any, will be reached to put an alternative system of immigration in place that will allow nationals from other EU Member States to take up employment in this country.

And that, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and The Adecco Group, is beginning to worry employers as skills shortages are "starting to bite" in UK sectors that employ a high number of EU nationals.

Gerwyn Davies, Labour Market Adviser for the CIPD, said: "The most recent official data suggest that there has been a significant slowdown in the number of non-UK nationals from the EU in work in the UK."

This is, he went on, creating significant recruitment challenges in sectors that have historically relied on non-UK labour to fill roles and who are particularly vulnerable to the prospect of future changes to EU immigration policy.

The public sector is set to be severely impacted by the risk of a drop in EU labour, with 43% of education and 49% of healthcare sector employers surveyed in the Labour Market Outlook saying they believed EU migrants among their workforce were considering leaving their organisation and/or the UK in 2017.

The Outlook, a survey of more than 1000 employers found that that the most common response to labour shortages has been to leave the positions empty, reflecting the tightness of the domestic labour market and tentative signs that the UK is attracting and retaining fewer EU nationals.

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