Job Market

Drop in migrant workers inflow may trigger skills shortage

A dramatic fall in the inflow of migrant workers moving to the UK could trigger a skills shortage as the economy recovers, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The latest quarterly migration statistics highlight a dramatic fall in the number of migrants registering to work in the country as the number of National Insurance Number (NINo) registrations to EU nationals decreased by 99% between July and September 2020.

Furthermore, registrations to non-EU nationals decreased by 65% during the same period.

Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser at the CIPD, said: “This is a staggering fall in registrations, reflecting not just the current restrictions of the pandemic but the fact that the stock of overseas workers in the UK may be falling sharply.

“With unemployment set to increase sharply over the next year as more stringent migration restrictions are introduced, it’s inevitable that more overseas workers, especially EU jobseekers, will find it easier to work or seek work in other parts of the EU. ‘

He added: “This won’t concern employers too much in the short-term while recruitment activity remains weak. However, the worry is that the combined impact of the apparent exodus of EU workers and the continued, subdued inflow of EU jobseekers in particular will feed into recruitment difficulties in the medium-term.

“The good news is that this should force employers to make full use of available UK workers, especially those recently made redundant with relevant skills and up to date experience.”

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