Many estate agents have no idea what’s going to hit their businesses when the UK leaves the EU on March 29th next year.
That’s the conclusion of a study of the property industry by a leading legal firm which found that 71% of business leaders in the sector felt unprepared for Brexit, 57% were worried about leaving the EU and 43% said they would be concerned about employing someone from an EU state after Brexit.
Leeds-based Black Solicitors also found that three quarters of property business leaders have a limited understanding of how the Brexit process will affect their business or the what it may mean for their non-UK employees under proposed immigration laws, despite 67% of agents employing staff from the EU.
Under current proposals after the UK leaves the EU and also following a transition period, all but the most highly skilled workers will be treated as temporary workers with restricted access to benefits and services, and with no long-term right to settle in the UK.
EU workers will have to register in order to continue working and living here
Other likely outcomes of Brexit agents will include a lengthier recruitment process, it is claimed, and higher recruitment costs.
And over a third of all businesses quizzed said they were not sure if they could replace departed EU colleagues with British alternatives.
“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,” says Louis MacWilliam (left), an immigration expert at Blacks Solicitors.
“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.
“Businesses in [the property] 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.”