Blacks’ Louis MacWilliam (left) and DirectBlinds MD David Roebuck
Blacks’ Louis MacWilliam (left) and DirectBlinds MD David Roebuck
Richard Bell

Nearly half of Yorkshire firms don't understand how Brexit will impact employees

Nearly half of employers in Yorkshire don’t understand how Britain’s departure from the European Union will affect their employees, according to new data.

Research from Leeds law firm Blacks Solicitors found that business leaders in the region are not confident in communicating the changes to employees’ rights that will come about due to Brexit.

One in four (25%) reported feeling underprepared and a further 45% are worried about leaving the EU.

Close to half (48%) said they have either limited or no understanding of how the Brexit process will impact their business, or its the implications for workers’ rights under new immigration laws.

York business leaders were the most worried (with 44% feeling this way), followed by Leeds (at 43%), then Bradford (40%), Hull (30%) and Sheffield (26%).

Two thirds (66%) of Yorkshire businesses currently employ staff from EU countries.

Blacks’ research also suggested Brexit could significantly affect the recruitment process, with 38% of respondents saying they would be put off employing someone from the EU following changes to immigration laws.

One fifth (20%) think the recruitment process will become lengthier and 13% think it will become more costly.

Associate solicitor Louis MacWilliam, head immigration at Blacks Solicitors LLP, said: “With less than seven months to go until Britain leaves the EU, it is worrying that such large numbers of employers still feel in the dark about their ability to retain and recruit EU nationals.

“This is in spite of the Home Office publishing concrete details about the new mandatory registration scheme for EU nationals, due to open later this year.”

Louis continued: “Yorkshire businesses rely heavily on EU labour and employers can play an important role in securing the rights of their EU employees.

“This includes ensuring employees are aware of any eligibility to apply for British citizenship or EU documentation before we leave the EU, as well as the new mandatory system of registration for EU nationals.”

Huddersfield-based DirectBlinds.co.uk, which said it employs several EU nationals, has already begun preparing for Brexit.

David Roebuck, the firm’s MD, commented: “Whilst we don’t foresee any issues, we will provide our support to ensure our employees’ long-term rights are protected. We will start by making sure everyone is up to speed with the new registration scheme, ahead of March 2019.”

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