Brexit ‘uncertainty’ could lead to a ‘brain drain’ for UK employers, according to immigration experts.
An Abingdon-based firm has revealed that around 40,000 people, mainly EU citizens, left the UK from 2015 to December 2016.
Milton Park firm Migrate UK says this is due to political uncertainty for EU citizens, and warns that some sectors will be experiencing further labour shortage.
Managing director Jonathan Beech said: “Until the Government ends uncertainty among EU citizens by guaranteeing rights to remain in the UK after Brexit we are likely to see a continuation of these trends, and potentially the start of a Brexit ‘brain drain’ from the UK.
“Sectors like retail, manufacturing, health and food services, are suffering skills and labour shortages, with more than a quarter of employers predicting that their EU workers could leave their jobs and the UK this year.
“A Brexit ‘brain drain’ is particularly likely in the IT, finance and engineering sectors, but this could be swiftly averted if the new elected government guarantees their approach for EU nationals and their right to work during and after the Brexit process, while providing a workable solution for employers who rely heavily on skills from outside the UK.
“Political reassurance would reduce panic.”
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “I have heard specific stories around the constituency of people leaving or actively looking to leave, not least at Joint European Torus (JET) in Culham where there is the double whammy of both the refusal of the government to guarantee EU citizens’ rights and the unnecessary decision to leave Euratom.”
Nicola Blackwood, Conservative candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon, said: “Ensuring we are able to attract the brightest and the best is a top priority as we go in to Brexit negotiations as is securing the rights of EU nationals in the UK as well as British citizens in the EU, and these are key priorities for me as I fight for the best deal for our area.
“It’s clear we need sensible and fair immigration policies; ensuring our world-class universities can attract international students, supporting our world leading innovation sector and upskilling UK workers at the same time.”