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Nearly three-quarters of property businesses feel underprepared for Brexit


A study by Blacks Solicitors has found that businesses in the property industry don’t feel confident in communicating the forthcoming changes to employees’ rights during Brexit. Some 71 per cent revealed they feel underprepared, and a further 57 per cent are worried about leaving the EU.

 
In addition, three quarters (76 per cent) said they have limited understanding of how the Brexit process will affect their business and the implications for workers’ rights, under new upcoming immigration laws.
 
With two thirds (67 per cent) of businesses in the industry currently employing staff from the EU, the research also shows the recruitment process could be significantly affected. Almost half (43 per cent) of business leaders say they would be put off employing someone from the EU after immigration laws change. A fifth (19 per cent) say the recruitment process will become lengthier and 24 per cent are also concerned that it will be harder to recruit people with the necessary skills.
 
48 per cent of businesses said they don’t have a dedicated HR function, so unsurprisingly leaders in the property industry are unclear when it comes to whose responsibility it is to communicate changes. Over half (57 per cent) revealed they don’t think the Home Office is doing enough.
 
The study also revealed it’s not only employees from the EU that will be affected, with 19 per cent of businesses saying the recruitment process will become more costly. Capacity and resource could also become problematic, with over one third (38 per cent) unconfident they would be able to replace EU workers with suitable British workers after Brexit.
 
Louis MacWilliam, Immigration expert at Blacks Solicitors LLP, says: “With less than seven months to go until Britain leaves the EU, it is worrying that such large numbers of employers still feel in the dark about their ability to retain and recruit EU nationals. This is in spite of the Home Office publishing concrete details about the new mandatory registration scheme for EU nationals, due to open later this year.
 
“Businesses in this industry rely heavily on EU labour and employers can play an important role in securing the rights of their EU employees. This includes ensuring employees are aware of any eligibility to apply for British citizenship or EU documentation before we leave the EU, as well as the new mandatory system of registration for EU nationals.
 
“Employers can keep abreast of recent changes by signing up for regular Home Office email updates about the status of EU nationals. Employers can seek advice from legal immigration experts on how best to secure the rights of EU employees, including eligibility for British citizenship. They can also review the current migrant workforce to allow for more effective long-term recruitment planning and to help mitigate risk around Brexit.”

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