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How could Brexit affect the UK Serviced Office Industry?


Clearly one of the biggest losers in a 'no-deal' scenario is going to be employers in Retail, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Hospitality and the Service Sector.

As a recruiter in the commercial real estate industry, around 50% of the people we’ve place in the service sector are EU nationals. They are on the whole highly skilled, dedicated service professionals, managers and directors but on the whole it’s the lower skilled junior management and FOH roles that are most likely to be hit hardest. Receptionist, service/waiting staff, concierge, administration, PA, centre managers, sales and secretarial staff make up the highest volume of roles and essential to running the centres.

What are the risks to the UK labour market in the next 2 years?

The government is due to publish its post-Brexit immigration plans shortly, which it says will give priority to skilled migrants, regardless of whether they come from EU countries or non-EU countries, ending the free movement of EU citizens into the UK.

The UK government wants to keep visa-free travel to the UK for EU visitors after Brexit and it is hoping this will be reciprocated, meaning UK citizens will continue to be able to visit EU countries for short periods without seeking official permission to travel.

Will there be rights to stay and work?

The proposal provides a cut-off date of Brexit day - 29 March 2019 - for those to be covered by the rules. Babies born after that date to people who have qualified under these rules will be included in the agreement. Under the plan EU citizens legally resident in the UK and UK citizens in the EU will be able to leave for up to five years before losing the rights they will have as part of the proposed Brexit deal.

If visitors from EU countries wanted to work, study or settle in the UK they would have to apply for permission under the proposals.

No agreement has been reached yet, however. If it is decided that EU citizens will need visas to come to the UK in the future, then UK citizens will need visas to travel to the EU.

Will EU nationals have to leave the UK if there's no deal?

Nobody really knows what it would mean for recent arrivals, but it's worth saying that even if no Brexit deal was done, EU nationals with a right to permanent residence, which is granted after they have lived in the UK for five years, should not see their rights affected after Brexit. With rising talk of a no deal Brexit, Mrs May has said EU citizens in the UK will be able to stay even if there is no deal done on Brexit.

How will EU citizens apply for the new status?

UK government ministers say there will be an online system - similar to one used to renew driving licences - that will take minutes to complete with a fee similar to getting a passport, which is about £72. Read more details here: UK unveils EU citizen registration plan

What about EU nationals who want to work in the UK?

Any EU citizen already living and working in the UK will be able to carry on working and living in the UK after Brexit. The current plan is that even after Brexit, people from the EU will be able to move to work in the UK during a "transition" phase of about two years. There is also some debate over whether they will have the same rights as those who came before, with possible restrictions on access to benefits or to vote in local elections. The EU wants them to have the same rights as now - the UK doesn't.

What happens after the transition period has yet to be decided, although it is widely expected that there will be a work permit system along the lines of that for non-EU national.

To discuss your labour plans for 2019, get in touch with MBS Recruitment or email me matt@matthewblairsolutions.co.uk


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