The UK’s Temporary Visa Plan is Bad for International Business

With Brexit continuing to dominate headlines in the UK, one aspect of the government’s approach has seen relatively little scrutiny – their plan for temporary visas for EU nationals. This is in spite of the fact that temporary visas would be bad for UK businesses, as well as for international market expansion.

The Temporary Visa Plan Explained

Since the Brexit referendum, the Prime Minister has been under pressure to deliver on her promise to dramatically reduce immigration, despite the concerns raised by businesses that this will negatively impact their ability to recruit the staff that they need.

The temporary visa plan is an attempt to placate both sides of this debate, by allowing EU nationals of all skill levels to enter the UK for up to a year at a time following Brexit. The plan was announced as part of a white paper that was finally released in December 2018, following more than a year of delays. The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, claimed that temporary visas would bring the best skills and most beneficial talent to the country, and that the plan would be implemented with the consultation with businesses. The truth, however, is that temporary visas will do little to protect UK businesses.

Why Temporary Visas Would be Bad News for Business

The plan for temporary visas has seen remarkably little scrutiny or coverage, considering that their introduction would be the most significant intervention by the state into the labour market in decades.

Many UK businesses are opposed to the plan, fearing that it will strangle or even cut off the supply of low to medium skilled workers from overseas. Along with the prospect of a potential no-deal Brexit, this could be a huge blow for UK businesses. Scotland, Wales, and other areas with relatively low wages could be hit especially hard by the significantly reduced talent pool.

The move is an attempt to appeal to two distinct camps, but it severely lets down UK businesses. The Central Business Institute (CBI) has gone as far as calling the plan a ‘sucker punch’ for UK businesses – and international market expansion will be hit too.

For companies looking to expand internationally, these added impositions and the lack of long-term security for workers from overseas will likely cause them to think twice about choosing the UK as an expansion destination.

Currently, temporary visas are set to be introduced once EU free movement ceases to apply to the UK. The government has attempted to assuage the fears of the business community by including provisions for a transitional visa lasting until at least 2025, which would allow EU migrants to enter the UK without a job offer for up to a year.

While concessions such as the transitional visa will soften the impact of the new system for some businesses, it is not a long-term solution. The government must listen to the concerns of businesses, especially after it did not implement the CBI’s to suggestion for a Brexit advice service in the Autumn Budget.

Until further concessions or assurances are forthcoming, businesses should look elsewhere for the support and guidance they need during difficult times. Galvin International can untangle the complexities of international business as Brexit approaches, and work with you to develop custom strategies for successful growth and expansion. Visit our website or get in touch to find out more.

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