Will Small Business In The UK Be Damaged by Brexit?

The future of EU citizens settled in the UK, and of British citizens settled across Europe, remains to be seen as Britain and Europe’s member states work to negotiate a Brexit plan. Many people who have built their careers, made friends, fallen in love, started families and bought homes now face uncertainty about their future, but what other impacts could it have?

Many small business owners are particularly worried about the impact of the changes to the UK Visa Application and the path to Indefinite Leave to Remain. There are concerns that small business owners will be squeezed out of the opportunity to hire non-EU workers – and potentially even EU workers. Foreign workers are essential for some industries, particularly the restaurant industry.

Many small restaurants hire highly skilled chefs from around the world who are experts in regional cuisine. They are the lifeblood of the culinary industry, but it may soon become too prohibitive to hire these workers and an important part of the British restaurant scene will be damaged.

The new rules mean that many small businesses are deterred from investigating the option of hiring overseas workers. Not only is the process complicated, costly and lengthy, but there is also little incentive for the worker to relocate to the UK. By limiting the talent pool available to hiring managers, UK businesses will undoubtedly suffer. Many tech startup bosses are considering their options overseas, where the barriers to employing foreign nationals are far less restrictive. The move towards a points based system of immigration to the UK is intended to reduce the numbers of people coming to the UK.

It would seem it has already taken effect, as only 11,790 Tier 2 visas were issued by the Home Office in 2013, despite there being a cap of 20,700. However, we have to ask if the highly restrictive rules might not be detrimental to the future of British businesses.

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