The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published a report on 27 March 2018 on EEA workers and their effect on the UK labour market. The report highlights the change on the labour market following the accession of Eastern European states to the EU in 2004 and 2007, when highly skilled migrants became available to UK employers at reasonably low wages.
One of the most important points that the MAC report makes is that the presence of EEA workers does not result in reduced wages for British workers. According to the evidence provided by the report, the difference between the wage of an Eastern European worker and a British worker in similar positions is on average 4%. Additionally, there was no evidence to suggest that Eastern European workers earn below the minimum wage.
The MAC warns that strict regulations on EEA workers post-Brexit may be detrimental to the market, as EEA nationals fill many skill gaps, providing a short-term solution for many businesses. The MAC also provides evidence that an increase in migration leads directly to an in increase in both employment and output growth. Many businesses have also expressed some concerns about what the future of skilled worker migration might be, with the majority of businesses expressing a negative view of the Tier 2 system.
The MAC report also states that as long as there is long-term investment in the British labour market, the skills gaps now filled by EEA nationals could easily be filled by UK nationals in the long run. This begs the question as to what employers should do in the meantime while people are being trained. It suggests that there may be scope for initially relaxing the restrictions for migrant workers from the EU after Brexit. MAC’s final report, which is expected in September 2018, should provide a more rounded conclusion on the impact of EEA workers on the UK labour market.
The report from the MAC comes after a recent publication from the Office for National Statistics, stating that net migration from the EU for 2017 has been at less than 100,000 - the lowest level since 2012. In contrast, the Office for National Statistics reports that the UK has welcomed a net of over 200,000 non-EEA migrants in 2017. However, the figures are somewhat illusory, as they do not take account of illegal immigration, regularisation of stay, asylum application approvals, human rights approvals, etc.
If you are an EEA national we strongly encourage you to seek advice on what your situation will be after the UK departs from the EU.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in all areas of immigration. Should you wish to discuss your immigration matters, please contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.