As a sector in which the importance of diversity cannot be overstated (indeed, Sir John Hegarty tells us that “creativity absolutely thrives on diversity”), the UK advertising industry as a whole is keeping a close eye on Brexit.  Of particular concern is the impact of Brexit on the large number of EU nationals currently engaged or employed by ad agencies across the UK.

With that in mind, the long awaited release of The Migration Advisory Committee’s report into the impact of EEA migration in the UK is certainly welcome.  The report is a key indicator of what the Government may do when they reveal their plans for the new immigration system which will govern how EU nationals are able to live and work in the UK after the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

On a positive note, the conclusions of the report finally put to rest the fear that EU migration has had a detrimental impact on the UK.  The MAC is clear that there is little evidence that EU migration has had a harmful impact on employment, wages, house prices and access to healthcare and education. EU nationals are not a drain on our public finances; they pay more in taxes than they receive in social benefits; and self-employed EEA nationals have lower declared profits than UK nationals on average.

The MAC is not though championing the continuation of free movement for EU workers. It has concluded that the positive impact of EU migration is negligible, it can only really be seen in highly skilled migration, and that it has ‘neither the large negative effects claimed by some nor the clear benefits claimed by others’.

The MAC is therefore supporting the end to free movement and they have not been ambitious in their proposals for how to replace it. They are not recommending any new visa routes or a large scale overhaul of the immigration system to cater for EU migration post 2021. They do propose however some significant changes to the Tier 2 work permit system. For more information on those proposed changes, see our article here.  They also suggest that the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) routes are better evaluated to see how they can benefit self-employed workers.

We will find out to what extent the Government adopts the MAC’s recommendations in due course. Extending the Tier 2 and sponsorship system to EU nationals wanting to work in the UK will result in a flood of new employers wanting sponsor licences and an increase in the number of visa applicants. This will put pressure on the Home Office and the immigration system to meet this increased demand.  

For any agencies who are considering applying for a sponsor licence, it is a good idea to start the process now to ensure that your diversity is protected for the future…

Follow the link below to access the full MAC Report.