Business deluded over migration changes, says leading think tank Resolution Foundation

Helen Cahill
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Businesses are "totally unprepared" for likely changes to levels of immigration to the UK, a leading think tank has warned.

Research by the Resolution Foundation has today revealed nearly half of UK employers are mistaken about how the country's jobs market is set to change, with 17 per cent thinking the right to freedom of movement for EU nationals will not change due to Brexit, and 30 per cent expecting the system to stay in place for EU nationals with a job.

Read more: Editor's Notes: Tory immigration policy will harm the City and our economy

Britain's negotiating position in Brexit talks remains unclear following the General Election, but Prime Minister Theresa May has committed to reducing net migration to the tens of thousands.

Despite an expected change in migration figures, 46 per cent of businesses employing workers from the EU do not expect the number of EU nationals they employ to change, the Resolution Foundation found.

And nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of firms are forecasting the number of migrant workers they employ to increase.

Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said: "As the fall-out from last week's election rumbles on, the new government will need to be making fast preparations for Brexit negotiations that start in just seven days' time.

Read more: Migration data shows "alarming" increase in departures, business group says

"But it's not just government that needs to step up preparation for Brexit. Many British firms are totally unprepared for this change, particularly when it comes to migration. Ministers have compounded this uncertainty by choosing not to answer questions over what a post-Brexit immigration regime might be."

The majority of the 500 employers surveyed by ComRes for the Resolution Foundation said they would prefer EU nationals to either retain their freedom of movement to the UK, or be able to move if they have a job offer from a UK business.

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