Responding to UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s triggering of Article 50 today, Kevin Green, chief executive at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), said:
“The UK labour market has performed well since the EU referendum. Employers are continuing to create jobs and employment has reached record levels. As Brexit negotiations begin, we need the government to prioritise a deal which creates more jobs and prosperity.
“Our members want the status of EU nationals working here to be confirmed as soon as possible. EU nationals make up seven per cent of the workforce and in some sectors that figure is much higher. In food processing, nearly a third of the workforce are EU nationals. One in five tech workers in London are from the EU. These people are integral to UK business and future wealth creation.
“The UK has near-full employment and recruiters are saying the task of filling vacancies is becoming more difficult. EU workers are more likely to fill labour and skills gaps in industries that persistently report unfilled vacancies and skills shortages. We need an immigration system which reflects this reliance on workers from the EU. Everyone loses if UK employers can’t hire the people they need.
“The recruitment industry is on the front line of the UK jobs market. It is vital that government listens to business throughout the negotiations. The REC will continue to work in partnership with government to make sure our members’ voices are heard.”