Britain’s companies have to be careful not to positively discriminate workers that come from the European Union during the Brexit negotiation period.
That is according to Punam Birly, a partner at professional services group KPMG who spoke to The Financial Times for a big report on immigration issues that have arisen as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
The FT said Birly, who advises businesses on employment and immigration issues, “cautions that employers need to be wary of inadvertent discrimination, such as helping EU employees with residency but not those from outside the EU with the equivalent.”
“Highly qualified professionals have been confused, asking whether they will have to leave the country. This is a test for employers,” she said.
While there is uncertainty over what immigration rules and processes will look like as Britain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019, companies should be careful not to spend too much time with just EU workers and not other non-UK nationals.
You can read the FT’s wider report here.
Britain is hurtling towards a “hard Brexit,” which will see the UK leaving the European Single Market in exchange for complete control over immigration. Negotiations can now officially start after Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 on March 29.
However, if the government does restrict EU migration, several industries vital to the UK economy could be hit with massive worker shortages. This would hurt the consumer, as it could cause either shortages or price rises.
For instance, Britain’s service industry accounts for nearly 80% of total UK GDP and policy think tank IPPR illustrated across two charts how the bulk of the service sector relies on EU workers and low-skilled EU migrants to fill jobs.
Earlier this month, Brexit Minister David Davis admitted that any cap on EU migration post-Brexit would likely be fluid, changing regularly to meet the demand for EU workers needed in Britain.
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