Although Brexiteers are fighting for controlled immigration, don’t forget EU workers can just willingly leave themselves. Indeed, that’s exactly what they’re doing – and it’s costing companies thousands of pounds in enticing perks to stop them.
Quizzing 1,000 HR directors in businesses with over 250 EU workers, Migrate UK, the immigration law firm, found 59% have shelled out up to £100,000 since the referendum to tempt EU employees to remain. Specifically, 20% splashed out between £20,000 and £50,000, 19% spent from £50,000 to £100,000 and 1% even went over the £100,000 mark.
Top perks money has been spent on include 28% dealing out bonuses to salaries of EU workers, 22% offering extended holiday time, accommodation and company cars, 19% introducing medical insurance schemes, 12% covering Permanent Residence and British Nationality Home Office fees and 7% even funding EU employees’ children to receive private education.
Given 39% have already lost EU staff with 67% blaming unclear future immigration legalities, it’s perhaps unsurprising. Especially given 66% cite difficulties in sourcing sufficient skills since the Brexit clock started ticking – an issue particularly visible for 86% in banking, 83% in finance and 79% in IT.
Commenting on the results, Jonathan Beech, managing director at Migrate UK, said: “…The government needs to give some form of guarantee that the status of EU workers in the UK is legally binding and safeguarded against any threat of change in the future, otherwise EU workers will just continue to leave.
“Despite the government’s recent proposed changes to the UK’s immigration rules, companies should have a sponsor licence in place as it’s likely organisations will need this in the future if EU citizens are brought under a sponsorship scheme.”
While the government continues to wrestle with the EU over workers’ rights, skilled employees may continue to bleed from British businesses for a long time but it’s refreshing to see companies are keen to retain international talent.