The future is uncertain for EU workers currently in the UK. As reported by the BBC, there are no current guarantees regarding their right to remain in the country. And failure to confirm these rights might spell disaster for the economy.
As the final date for Brexit edges closer, fears abound regarding the rights of EU workers. EU citizens working in the country don’t know if they can stay. At this time, they have to prepare to leave.
Businesses operating in the country also face concerns regarding the fate of their employees. As of last March, 2.1 million people working in the UK were from other EU member nations. And, if the EU workers can’t stay, that equals 2.1 million job vacancies across the country. With current unemployment below 5 percent, there aren’t enough people looking for work to cover the potential shortfall. And that doesn’t account for positions requiring specialized skills where suitable replacements might not be available at all.
Business Frustration and Call to Action
Most businesses are concerned about the effect of losing the EU workers. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and TUC expressed these fears in an open letter to the prime minister.
“Now is the time to end insecurity for EU workers and for British businesses alike.”
The letter requests a commitment from government officials to ensure the security of EU workers across the nation.
EU Workers Already Leaving
Some EU workers aim to avoid the uncertainty the easiest way possible; they are leaving the UK. Skilled workers often have little trouble finding new employment opportunities. This means businesses are losing key personnel ahead of the official date of Brexit.
Continued doubts put EU workers and local businesses in precarious positions. Workers are concerned about maintaining their livelihoods and the financial security of their families. That means some with act pre-emptively instead of waiting to see where things falls.
Businesses don’t have the luxury of making changes in advance. That means they have to scramble any time these fears lead an employee to leave. And, the longer the uncertainty exists, the harder that becomes.
Current Government Stance
The prime minister has expressed interest in securing the rights of EU workers in Britain. However, she wants to ensure British citizens in other EU nations are extended the same courtesy. That leads some to assume this is going to be a point being negotiated in official talks prior to Brexit.
In response, many businesses hope the prime minister will give EU workers the security they need without confirmation that British workers will receive the same rights. The loss of these employees in Britain would be devastating. However, the loss of British workers in EU countries may not be as severe.
Since EU member nations might feel less pressure to act in kind, there is no guarantee they will.
What Can a Person Do?
Full Brexit will take years. That means EU workers won’t lose their jobs tomorrow. However, make sure to prepare. Work on building up savings and ensure your job skills are current and marketable. Keep an eye on negotiations as they happen, and be prepared to act accordingly.