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Published: Thu, January 12, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

UK Considering $1200 Charge to Hire EU Workers After Brexit

UK Considering $1200 Charge to Hire EU Workers After Brexit

A similar levy for workers from outside the European Union is being introduced in April, and the minister told peers it could be extended to workers from the European Union after Brexit. So for a four-year contract that employer will need to pay 4,000 pounds.

But Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokeswoman said that such a charge was "not on the agenda".

Mr Goodwill also indicated that a scheme to allow entry for some seasonal agricultural workers was being considered.

Appearing before the Home Affairs Select Committee, Mr Goodwill referred to an annual £1,000 charge on businesses for every skilled worker they employ from outside Europe, which will take effect in two months time. If you want to recruit an Indian computer programmer on a four-year contract on top of the existing visa charges and the resident labour market test there will be a fee of £1,000 per year.

"That's something that now applies to non-EU [migrants]", he said to the House of Lords' Home Affairs sub-committee. "But as I say, we are not in a position at the moment to really speculate as to what the settlement will be post Brexit negotiations". Although employers accepted that immigration policy would change after Brexit the levy would "hit businesses who are dependent on skills from abroad", it said.

Mr Goodwill said action needed to be taken to relieve the huge strain sky-high immigration was causing on housing and schools across the UK.

"It would be helpful to the British economy and to British workers who feel they are overlooked because of other people coming into the country getting jobs they would themselves like to get", he said. "It is not on the government agenda".

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, added that companies in the United Kingdom already face a "plethora of upfront costs".

"Be under no illusions, this plan would kill off British businesses", said Don Foster, the party's business policy chief.

He said: "Implementing this measure would be harmful to individual firms and overall growth, as it would make the United Kingdom less attractive to both investment and talent".

The British Hospitality Association warned it would increase costs for firms and lead to higher prices for consumers.

Between 2007 and 2014, United Kingdom firms were allowed to employ a certain number of fruit pickers from Bulgaria and Romania for a six-month period but this scheme expired when transitional work restrictions on the two countries following their entry to the European Union were lifted.

He did however propose that a seasonal agricultural workers scheme, which allows people to work in the United Kingdom in low skilled roles for less than six months, could be introduced after Brexit without adding towards the government's net migration target.

He told peers that a charge being introduced this April for non-EU migrants could be extended to create a fund to "train our own people".

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