Human Rights
By Conal McGarrity
Latest News

Shortage of Skilled Workers Coming to Northern Ireland amid Brexit Concerns

Citizens Advice Northern Ireland have confirmed that there was an 80% rise in immigration queries in 2017. With the position of EU workers within the UK after Brexit still uncertain, this figure is set to rise again. The confusion has led to a marked decrease in skilled labour in the UK, particularly in Northern Ireland. The labour shortage has impacted most heavily on the food, engineering and hospitality industries.

The main reason for the shortage in skilled labour is essentially that EU workers are now in a more precarious position amid the uncertainty created by Brexit and little is being done to persuade them otherwise. The right to move and work freely in EU states has been restricted by recent government legislation such as the Immigration Act 2016.

This has deterred skilled workers from coming to the UK to work and has also caused many to leave the UK labour market. A Citizens Advice spokesperson cited concerns of a ‘lack of provision for free specialist immigration advice in Northern Ireland’. Businesses in the most heavily effected industries are now experiencing a skills gap in their workplace which has a detrimental impact on their output and growth. At PA Duffy and Company we can help to ease the recruitment challenges facing businesses in Northern Ireland.

Our expert Immigration solicitors can make a labour shortage application to the Home Office which, if successful, can help you to recruit the type of skilled workers that you need. Our Immigration team specialise in identifying industries where a labour shortage exists. For example, amid Brexit uncertainty there has been a significant drop in the availability of low to intermediate skilled workers in the engineering industry in Northern Ireland. Access to the UK job market for highly skilled workers is not likely to be an issue in the post Brexit era. However, the current trend demonstrates that the position of low to intermediate skilled workers remains precarious.

As an employer it is important to not allow your business to suffer as a result of labour shortage. We can help you to identify if your circumstances meet the Home Office Threshold for a labour shortage and fight to ensure that your business has access to skilled labour. Skilled workers from the EU have been left to feel much less secure in the UK’s labour market as a result of the onset of Brexit, as well as UK legislation that has impeded their right to move and work in the UK. Employers should act quickly to ensure their businesses do not suffer as a result of skilled labour shortage.

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