More than three-quarters of UK businesses have put no additional funds in place to meet the costs of international recruitment following Brexit.
As many as 26 per cent of businesses have already recruited fewer workers from the EU since March 2017, according to research by law firm Shakespeare Martineau.
Read more: Time for a migration policy based on sense
Under government plans, low-skilled workers from the EU would no longer have an automatic right to work in the UK following Brexit.
“Despite evidence that many businesses have felt pressure on their recruitment channels so far, there appears to be inaction within the marketplace,” said Tijen Ahmet, head of business immigration at Shakespeare Martineau.
Under the EU’s free movement rules, UK businesses have been able to recruit talent from the continent with relative ease. If free movement ends following Brexit, firms may be forced either to look elsewhere for new employees or face increased costs when recruiting from the EU.
“Exploring other global talent markets is going to be increasingly important, however this comes at a price,” said Tijen. “The current Tier 2 visa system for skilled workers is expensive and if employers find they need to use this system to plug gaps in their businesses, the costs could soon climb,” she added.
The cost of recruiting an employee on a Tier 2 visa for a three-year contract in the UK is over £5,000 per person and can exceed £11,000 if the employee is joined by a partner and family.
More than two in five UK businesses have already experienced a decrease in talent and skills since March 2017, according to the survey conducted among 132 staffing and recruitment managers at UK businesses.
Downing Street hit back at Home Secretary Sajid Javid in January after he said that the government was “formally dumping” its longstanding aim of reducing net migration into the tens of thousands.