There haws been a 10% drop in the number of skilled workers from overseas applying to work in private companies since the Brexit vote, a new report suggests. Over 4,000 fewer applications for Skilled Worker Visas were made by non-EU workers seeking to work in the private sector in 2018-19. The number dropped from 48,600 in 2015-16, the year of the EU referendum, to 44,300 in the last year figures are available. Business advisers BDO carried out the research, which they said raises fears about an increasingly severe talent shortage after the UK leaves the EU.
People applying for skilled worker visas can range from engineers and architects to dancers, musicians and speech therapists. The BDO report pointed out that at the moment, EU citizens are free to work in the UK without a visa, giving businesses access to a large pool of talent from across the continent. But after the transition period ends, it is likely to become more difficult for EU workers to get a job here as they will also have to obtain the right immigration paperwork. The report said: ‘With the UK having left the EU and a short transition period expected, there is a risk that skilled worker migration from the European continent could fall further creating potential challenges for some key UK industries’. Stuart Lisle, of BDO, said there was already a skills shortage in industries such as technology and manufacturing, adding: ‘It is now vitally important that British businesses are still able to bring in talented workers from overseas where necessary, once our exit from the EU is completed.