Free motion of EU staff has been the cornerstone of UK-EU relations for a few years. Under Lawyer Month-to-month hears from Rahul Batra at Hudson McKenzie on the potential way forward for low expert employee in a post-Brexit world.

A number of hundred thousand low-skilled staff from EU nations are employed annually in jobs predominantly in cleansing, hospitality and the agricultural sector which has traditionally witnessed a powerful reliance on seasonal staff from EU nations. For instance, the seasonal agricultural staff scheme (SAWS) was in place for a really very long time previous to ending within the 12 months 2013, primarily as a consequence of the truth that EU staff had been already allowed to come back to the UK below free motion.

Nonetheless, to throw a spanner within the works, the UK authorities has introduced that consistent with Brexit, free motion of EU staff will come to an finish within the 12 months 2021. This raises two essential questions- How are UK companies engaged within the above sectors going to outlive by not having quick access to EU staff? And can there be a alternative scheme in impact?

With the intention to facilitate migration into jobs that aren’t thought of sufficiently expert to qualify for Tier 2 work permits, the federal government could also be trying on the under two choices.

Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS)

Within the July 2018 White Paper, the federal government said that it hopes to barter a UK-EU ‘Youth Mobility’ scheme modelled on the prevailing Tier 5 scheme that may enable some kind of low-skilled work permits to be launched put up Brexit. Tier 5 YMS is a scheme which at current permits residents of few widespread wealth nations together with Australia, New Zealand, Canada to be employed in jobs at any ability degree.

Is Youth Mobility Scheme the reply?

The Youth Mobility Scheme has been traditionally designed to facilitate cultural change between the UK and sure widespread wealth nations, and never as a labour migration programme. By its very nature, this scheme is momentary whereas a majority of EU staff would keep for greater than two years, and sometimes stay with the identical employer for a few years. Furthermore, YMS has an age restriction of between 18-30 years and never all EU staff would match into this age bracket, though the hospitality trade depends closely on younger staff, however others could not. Lastly, the YMS has caps for every collaborating nation and the scale of any caps can be essential in figuring out whether or not YMS is a serious supply of labour migration sooner or later.

Work Permits for low-skilled jobs

Work permits by their very nature, contain comparatively detailed regulation of the varieties of jobs which are eligible and the circumstances of labor and likewise require employer sponsorship linking staff to particular jobs. The Factors Based mostly System (PBS) which has 5 tiers, hasn’t been used utterly since inception. The present Tier 2 visa system for non-EU nationals is designed primarily for graduate degree jobs. Most worker jobs within the UK labour market don’t meet this criterion, and a considerable share of migration into these non-graduate positions has been from EU nations. The Tier three of the PBS, which was unique designed to accommodate low expert staff was by no means put to make use of. Subsequently, this can be an ideal alternative for the federal government to introduce work permits preparations for low expert staff below Tier three scheme.

Nonetheless, work permits aren’t devoid of drawbacks. Firstly, a number of employers view sponsorship as a cumbersome burden as a result of excessive prices and administrative burden concerned. Furthermore, the truth that a employee is tied to a selected job, makes it tougher for staff to depart exploitative employers in instances the place the phrases of participation within the scheme haven’t been efficiently enforced.


Are we due to this fact going to have a Youth Mobility Scheme for EU staff or a brand new work allow scheme below Tier three of the PBS put up Brexit, in an effort to meet the demand for migrant staff in low-skilled jobs? If not, it is extremely possible that the federal government will introduce at the very least some equal schemes for labour migration in low expert jobs after free motion involves an finish, lest the chance of unlawful employment rises as a consequence of employers not having enough authorized choices to recruit migrant staff in such jobs.