EU workers currently account for 13% of HGV drivers and 26% of warehouse operatives employed in the UK’s freight and logistics industry, and with the latest immigration figures showing that migration has fallen by nearly a third since the Brexit vote, the UK’s EU exit is likely to have serious repercussions for transport companies.
Much of the decline in immigration figures has been driven by the increase in EU citizens leaving the UK and this is directly related to the uncertainty around EU citizens’ rights post-Brexit, along with the devaluation of the pound. The gap between what foreign workers can earn in the UK and what they can earn in their country of origin has narrowed, meaning many are opting to stay where they are, or return home.
Businesses that are heavily reliant on EU workers are now faced with two challenges – how to retain their existing EU employees, and how to continue to access the talent they need in the future. Whilst the uncertainty around Brexit remains, it is difficult for businesses to fully prepare, but there are steps they can take to help their EU workers stay in the UK post-Brexit:
1. Work out who your employees are and what they do, whether they’re EU nationals in the UK, or British nationals working in Europe – building an understanding of who your EU workers are enables you to assess how potential changes in immigration law may affect them post-Brexit. You may need to track their right to work or help them through the visa application process.
2. Consider offering financial support for applications for Residence Cards, Permanent Residence Cards and citizenship – new applicants would need to pay an application fee (expected to be around £80). Some businesses are offering to pay their employees’ settled status applications as a way of making them feel valued. Other businesses are even offering financial support as a recruitment incentive to attract job applicants.
3. Engage with and provide reassurance to staff who are worried about what Brexit will mean for them and their families – existing residence documents obtained by European nationals and their family members under the current European regulations will be deemed invalid after the UK exits the EU. There could be some confusion around what EU workers need to do to stay in the UK post-Brexit, so until this is clarified, employers should support impacted individuals with advice and guidance as the new laws are unveiled.
Savanna Driver Recruitment is a specialist driver recruitment and training provider, matching experienced temporary and permanent LGV (HGV), HIAB and Moffett drivers to businesses throughout London and the South East. We have a bank of experienced and reliable drivers ready to meet your requirements, whether that’s multi-drop pallet distribution, general haulage or courier deliveries.
To enquire about how we can support your business, please call Savanna today on 0330 335 8367 or complete our client Enquiry Form, and one of our team will be in touch within 24 hours.