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Low-skilled sectors must be quick to offset fallout from immigration shake up, says CIPD

The CIPD has welcomed the launch of the first phase of the Government's new EU immigration policy. According to recent CIPD research, the prospect of future migration restrictions are currently giving rise to a range of practical concerns for many UK employers. In response to these concerns and the announcement from the Government today, the CIPD is urging employers to act now in order to avoid significant labour and skills challenges in the future.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market analyst at the CIPD, commented, “Employers looking to hire workers from inside the EU must respond now to the prospect of migration restrictions or face the consequences of recruitment difficulties in the future.

“Overall, the CIPD fully supports the evidence-based approach the government is taking. It’s positive to see that the government is looking to amend the shortage occupation list to include skills shortages at lower skill levels than graduate-level occupations. This will be music to the ears of sectors such as social care who would benefit most from the potential welcome changes.

“However, the policy implications of the questions set out in today’s letter to the Migration Advisory Committee confirm that employers in low-skill, low-wage industries stand to be most affected by the new EU immigration system. As highlighted in recent CIPD research, some unskilled or low-skilled employers have no alternative than to recruit EU migrant labour due to the unattractiveness of certain roles or sectors to EU nationals and the tightness of the UK labour market in some regions of the UK. 

“Nonetheless, employers in these sectors need to start putting in place workforce development plans now to offset future labour or skills shortages if they haven’t already. This can involve upskilling existing staff, building closer links with local schools and colleges and investing in apprenticeships in order to build a talent pipeline for the future. The point is that these initiatives can take months or even years to come to fruition so employers need to put wheels in motion now."

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