In order to encourage companies to hire local workers, the British government is considering to charge employers £1,000-a-year tax on each EU worker they hire after Brexit.
“The Brexit negotiations give us the opportunity to control the numbers that come,” Robert Goodwill, the immigration minister, said on Wednesday. “We are not saying we’re going to prevent people from coming here to work. We are just going to do that in a controlled way.”
He said that the charge for employers is an extension of the “immigration skills levy”, which was introduced for foreign staff, and now, the rule is extended to EU workers.
In addition, the immigration minister said that a seasonal agricultural workers scheme might be introduced after Brexit. This plan enables workers to work in low-skilled roles for less than half a year in Britain. For horticultural industry alone, 90,000 seasonal workers are expected to be needed by 2019, and 95% of berries are picked by workers from other countries. The scheme will enable British farming industry to escape the restrictions on EU migration.
However, the new rule will be “harmful to individual firms and overall growth, as it would make the U.K. less attractive to both investment and talent”, Adam Marshall, the Director General of British Chambers of Commerce, said in the statement. For companies that already has recruiting difficulties, they will face greater challenges in attracting talents.
“This would be a tax on successful businesses,” said Anna Soubry, a former Conservative business minister. “Stopping businesses from bringing in the workers they need will do nothing to help unemployed Brits, and will do everything to damage our economy.”