Proposals to ensure EU workers have a job offer in place before moving to the UK will have a detrimental effect, healthcare and construction recruiters say.
Both recruiters and the independent employers’ body the CBI think the idea would create talent shortages and push wages up.
Writing in The Sunday Times this weekend, home secretary Theresa May claimed the free movement of workers in the UK should only apply to those with jobs, so workers would need to have a job offer before coming to the UK to work.
In response, John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, expressed concerns about the Home Secretary’s proposals, claiming hospitals and care homes would not be able to function while construction projects would stall.
Recruiters operating in these sectors echo Cridland’s concerns.
Tawhid Juneja, director at healthcare staffing specialist Primary Care People, told Recruiter 20% of his candidates are EU citizens from outside the UK.
“I would agree with John Cridland and feel this could adversely affect the healthcare sector.
“With the shortage of GPs coming through the system, it will certainly have a detrimental effect if they now have to secure a job before coming to the UK,” he added.
Meanwhile Nathan Ferris, director at construction recruiter Darcy Associates, said the construction industry’s recovery could be jeopardised by the Home Secretary’s proposals at a time in which it is already struggling to keep up with current demand.
He told Recruiter: “During the recession, construction took a large hit on the labour pool with people leaving the industry from more ‘stable’ and ‘consistent’ jobs.
“The industry is still seeing the adverse affects from the recession with a huge skill shortage and the industry is struggling to keep up with the labour requirements on projects nationwide. Our industry relies on quality EU labour throughout all skill sets in construction from general labouring to white collar roles.”
And Dan Taylor, director at Morgan Hunt, a recruiter that operates in the construction space, described the proposals as potentially “disastrous” given spiralling wages in the sector.
“The cost of salaries and the labour force in construction projects is rocketing through the roof and is actually putting a strain on a number of construction companies for projects they have tendered for.
“By the time the project comes to actually being delivered onsite, the salaries have jumped forward at such a level that it’s really biting into their profit margins.”