Consultancy firm PwC have published a report which suggests that Britain could issue regional work visas once they leave the European Union. In order to fill the skills gap that will inevitably result from Brexit.
“There are skills shortage issues that need to be tackled effectively to ensure the UK remains competitive post Brexit,” said the report.
Similar regional visa systems have been used successfully in Australia and Canada and often individual states and provinces are free to advertise overseas for skill that are in short supply. The larger British cities voted largely in favour of staying within the European Union and have long voiced their concerns over skills shortages should the free movement of labour throughout the European Union be halted there.
The report suggests that regions could advertise their positions overseas and issue regional visas allowing foreign workers to work, live and buy property only in the region for which the visa is granted. Under the same scheme the report suggests that these visa holders are charged a £200 per annum fee for access to the National Health Service. The proposed system would allow for workers to apply for short or long term visas with an option towards permanent residency after a period of five years. The suggestion has received the backing of the City of London financial district citing financial services, agriculture and healthcare as the sectors most at risk of a skills shortage, whilst the London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been pushing for a specific visa system for London since the Brexit vote back in June.
Of course any such regulations would need a great deal of time and planning and would not be in place in a short time period leaving those in the regions affected worrying about where their labour will come from post Brexit.