Louis Borhani, head of permanent recruitment at Angel Human Resources advises employers on how to avoid staffing headaches before and after Brexit.
We all know the UK hospitality industry would not functuion without overseas staff. Not only is the industry the UK’s fourth biggest employer, but 42% of workers in the foodservice, hotel and pub sectors are from the EU, according to Fourth Analytics.
And, with all the current Brexit uncertainty, that’s a cause of concern both for EU workers and for employers like you. But there are things you can do right now to make sure your team and your business are Brexit-ready.
Do you know your deadlines?
While the UK’s membership of the EU is expected to end on 29th March 2019, after that there’ll be an ‘implementation period.’ This currently means that EU nationals can continue to come and work in the UK without any issues until 31st December 2020. But EU nationals who wish to live and work in the UK after that date must apply for settled status. The registration scheme should be fully open by 31st March 2019 and the deadline for making settled status applications is currently set for 30th June 2021.
What does settled status mean?
Settled status will enable EU nationals to work, live, and get access to various benefits in the UK for as long as they like. To be eligible, applicants must have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period. EU citizens who’ve lived here for less than five years should be eligible for pre-settled status, which means they can stay in the UK for a further five years – and then apply for settled status.
Should you be concerned?
Failure to apply for settled status by the deadline will mean the automatic loss of the right to live and work in the UK. As an employer, if you fail to ensure that any of your EU national employees has settled or pre-settled status, you will be deemed to have employed illegal workers and could face a fine of up to £20,000 per worker.
Will you be able to attract the talent you need?
A recent REC survey showed 42% of hospitality employers had been unable to find enough workers to fill their temporary or seasonal vacancies. At the same time, research by the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management discovered that around 30% of contracts with EU staff were casual – more than for UK staff and those from the rest of the world.
Like many other recruitment agencies, we saw a marked increase in competition for hospitality and catering staff during 2018, and we expect that to rise further still during the first quarter of 2019. Indeed retail and hospitality sector hiring intentions are the highest in over a decade, and advertised pay for hospitality roles continues to rise. Huge competition for talent, exacerbated by impending Brexit means it’s more important than ever to attract the right people and to retain them.
Can I put off hiring till after Brexit?
As rumours of a no-deal Brexit continue to rumble, a stark scenario set out by UK Hospitality estimates that the sector could see a shortfall of over 60,000 workers per annum from 2019! While it’s tempting to be cautious, the market could get even more challenging post-Brexit. With that in mind, we’d advise employers to make any placements as soon as possible.
Find out more about how to Brexit-proof your recruitment or contact Angel Human Resources on 07725263994 for a chat.