Hull's offshore and food sectors face Brexit worker shake-up

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 5 Feb 2019

Booming Hull industries such as offshore wind and food could be affected by immigration changes which impact short-term EU workers.

The Government recently released its Immigration White Paper, which outlined proposed Brexit changes to the free movement of workers coming to the UK.

At a seminar held recently in Grimsby, a warning was issued that sectors which rely on short-term and EU workers, such as the renewables and food market, could be hit hard.

Workers in the EU currently fall under a different immigration system to non-EU workers, but this will change at the end of 2020.

Calum Hanrahan, an immigration solicitor at Wilkin Chapman, said: “My initial concerns are at the moment we have a free movement, and lots of the jobs which EU nationals are doing are classed by the Home Office as low-skilled.

The food sector could also be affected by the proposals

“If the proposals in the White Paper go through, there will be a points-based system similar to what we currently have with non-EU workers.

“There are lots of sectors in the region which deal with EU workers, and they could be affected by these changes.

“There will also be a cool-down period for a worker who has come to the UK and then returned home, meaning they will not be able to return for 12 months.”

In the White Paper, Prime Minister Theresa May said the country would still welcome “talent, hard work and the skills we need as a country.”

Prime Minister Theresa May must strike a deal with Brussels

She also said it would encourage more British businesses to train their own home-grown talent.

In the Immigration paper, the Prime Minister said: “This will be a system where it is workers’ skills that matter, not which country they come from.

“It will be a single system that welcomes talent, hard work, and the skills we need as a country.

“It will attract the brightest and best to a United Kingdom that is open for business.

“Migrants have made a huge contribution to our country over our history - and they will continue to in the future.”

Pictures, from left: Simon Dwyer, MD at Seafox Management Consultants, Wilkin Chapman Regulatory Partner Jonathan Goolden and specialist Immigration Solicitor, Calum Hanrahan (Image: Southbank PR)

From around late 2020, all EU workers coming to the UK must obtain permission.

Skilled workers will be prioritised, and EU native already living in the UK will be able to apply for permanent settlement.

At the recent Brexit seminar, Mr Hanrahan outlined how the points-based system based on skills, was not favourable to those lower-skilled workers on which the country had previously relied, which was envisaged as a problem with such workers already leaving.

He said: “There are quite a few sectors in the region which could be affected. Farming would be one, and then offshore wind too.

“Businesses can prepare themselves by looking at their current staff base, and helping workers apply for settlement here.

“The uncertainty is what makes it difficult. No one knows yet how everything will pan out.”

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