A new study has been released that shows that three-quarters of EU citizens working in the UK would not meet current visa requirements for non-EU overseas workers following a Brexit.

The report, which was conducted by Oxford University’s Migration Observatory (OUMO), revealed that after April enforced changes the rate would increase to 81%.

The results showed that the impact of an exit could be substantially damaging on the hotels & restaurants sector as well as British farms. There are currently 94% and 96% retrospectively of EU workers employed in these areas that would as a result, fail to meet the entry requirements.

The more positive news was that the research did acknowledge that Britain would potentially have to changes its immigration requirements in the case of a departure, which would ease the rules to accommodate for EU immigration. Those already settled in the country would be entitled to stay, with their rights being ‘unaffected’ according to Vote Leave.

What Oxford’s data shows so clearly however, is the staffing difficultly that British employers would face if the government limits immigration from the EU in the case of a British exit.

There are close to 2.2m EU workers in the UK, making up almost 6.6% of the total workforce of the country.

The author of the new data, Carlos Vargas Silva, stated ‘Most sectors of the UK Labour market now have a significant EU migrant workforce — and many of these are lower-paid sectors, such as hotels and manufacturing. Even if the immigration system is redesigned after a Brexit vote, any system that selects EU workers based on skills and pay is likely to hit these sectors hardest.’

A Look into The Sectors

  • In the energy, transport and construction sectors, three-quarters of EU workers would not qualify under the overseas worker rules.
  • 66% of the banking, financial and professional services sectors would be excluded.
  • Manufacturing companies have more than 10% of EU workers in the total 3m overall workers they employ. This is more than in any other profession.
  • 442,000 EU citizens are employed in retail, hotels/restaurants. (8% of the 5.7m workforce.
  • Finance and banking has 360,000 workers (6.8% of the industry).

With the immigration issue being a pivotal argument in the June 23rd EU referendum, this creates an interesting argument towards the Brexit campaigners and how they plan to sustain the country’s economy in light of these findings. The research just shows how hard it would be to unravel the UK economy from thousands of EU works who have found jobs in Britain.

OUMO based their research from the Labour Force Survey (largest household survey in the UK). They analysed the current tier 2 skilled worker visa programme for non-EU workers and applied it to the existing UK, EU workforce.

The study however, doesn’t give information on the flow of workers in and out of the country. While the data provided an insight into settled EU citizens and those of them working in the UK, a better understanding of the actual flow will be released at the end of May, when the inactive national insurance numbers are released by the government.