Skip to content

Study reveals lack of knowledge on Brexit among property industry leaders

The majority of business leaders in the property industry in the UK don’t understand how the Brexit process will affect employees with just over six months until the nation leaves the European Union, a study shows.

They survey by Blacks Solicitors has found that businesses in the property industry don’t feel confident in communicating the forthcoming changes to employees’ rights during Brexit with 71% feeling underprepared and a further 57% worried about leaving the EU.

In addition, some 76% said they have limited understanding of how the Brexit process will affect their business and the implications for workers’ rights, under new upcoming immigration laws.

With 67% of businesses in the industry currently employing staff from the EU, the research also shows the recruitment process could be significantly affected. Almost half, 43% of business leaders say they would be put off employing someone from the EU after immigration laws change. And 19% say the recruitment process will become lengthier and 24% are also concerned that it will be harder to recruit people with the necessary skills.

The research also found that 48% of businesses don’t have a dedicated HR function, so leaders in the property industry are unclear when it comes to whose responsibility it is to communicate changes. Over half, 57%, revealed they don’t think the Home Office is doing enough.

And it is not only employees from the EU that will be affected, with 19% of businesses saying the recruitment process will become more costly. Capacity and resource could also become problematic, with 38% unconfident they would be able to replace EU workers with suitable British workers after Brexit.

‘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,’ said Louis MacWilliam, immigration expert at Blacks Solicitors.

‘Businesses in this industry 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,’ he pointed out.

‘Employers can keep abreast of recent changes by signing up for regular Home Office email updates about the status of EU nationals. Employers can seek advice from legal immigration experts on how best to secure the rights of EU employees, including eligibility for British citizenship. They can also review the current migrant workforce to allow for more effective long term recruitment planning and to help mitigate risk around Brexit,’ he added.