What would be the consequences of significantly reduced immigration to Britain?

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23 November
17:16
November
2016

If what is agreed with the EU about the UK’s exit involves the imposition of significant restrictions on hiring EU nationals that were not there before, then that is likely to be detrimental to business.

Anything that restricts the ability of UK business to easily recruit labour from wherever they can find it is obviously going to prejudice that business. It’s feasible that restrictions on the supply of labour to the UK could force businesses to charge consumers higher prices or cause economic growth to slow down.

In terms of day-to-day life for my clients, some businesses may be able to better tolerate Brexit and restrictions to the supply of labour.

Some UK businesses have told me that there’s a lot of anxiety among their workers who are EU nationals. They are stressed about whether they’ll be allowed to stay in the UK. Employers are trying to give a degree of re-assurance to these workers.

The impact of Brexit on the UK will grow as the UK gets closer to an exit from the EU. But it’s hard to predict accurately the likely consequences of Brexit for economic and employment law, because there aren’t any obvious similar events that have happened and could give clues as to how Brexit will affect Britain. It's a unique set of circumstances.

Also, we still don’t know what arrangements will be agreed between the UK and European union for immigration to the UK and its access to the Single European market. If there is agreement for Britain to have continued access to the single European market, there could equally be compromise for the free movement of Europeans to Britain or their preferential treatment compared to non-Europeans. This could mean that immigration to Britain from Europe is reduced, but not drastically or by as much as some people in Britain hoped for. There are still a lot of variables about immigration and Brexit.

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