Belfast Telegraph

Businesses 'face scrap for foreign staff' as immigration rules tighten

Companies in every business sector will be competing for a reduced pool of workers because of expected migration controls, according to a new report.

Hotels, manufacturers and transport will be hardest hit by limits on the movement of workers born outside the UK, says consultancy firm Mercer.

A third of workers in accommodation and food services companies were born outside the UK, while in manufacturing and transport the figure was about a fifth, the study found.

The UK's ageing population might also have an impact on workforces, said the report.

Gary Simmons, a partner at Mercer, said: "Since 2013, the UK-born workforce has been declining as people retire and we can see how reliant certain industries are on overseas workers filling the gaps.

"The UK is likely to impose more stringent migration controls in the future and this will reduce the number of overseas workers available.

"While we have focused on 11 industries in this report, the fact is that every company in every sector in the UK will be competing for a reduced pool of available workers.

"Problems in one sector will impact on a variety of others."

Shortages of workers in manufacturing could accelerate further automation and relocation, while businesses would face problems retaining staff, said the report.

Demand for staff in health and social care was expected to "dramatically" increase as the population aged, the report added.

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