Less than a third of employers are comfortable with the new UK immigration rules post-Brexit, according to recent research from background screening and identity services company Sterling.

In an online poll, Sterling found that only 23% of UK businesses were comfortable with the new regulations, with over a third (35%) stating they weren’t comfortable at all. While this is a concern as travel restrictions between the UK and Europe ease to some degree, it is an improvement on a survey from the beginning of the year where just 2% of employers revealed they were comfortable with the changes.

This news comes at a time when industries including hospitality and retail are reporting a shortage of staff following an exodus of talent from the UK.

Steve Smith, Managing Director Sterling EMEA, commented on the latest results:

“While it’s encouraging to see an improvement in those comfortable with the new immigration rules, the fact that over two thirds of UK employers are still struggling to get to grips with the regulations is a concern. With some industries reporting a dearth of talent in a Covid-hit, post-Brexit landscape, the UK’s ability to attract EU talent will be a key part of the re-opening of the economy.

“However, with the deadline for non-UK workers to apply for settled status looming, the need to address these uncertainties is without doubt. There is the potential that we could see further employment challenges after 30th June and bringing EU workers into the UK for employment opportunities cannot compliantly happen overnight. We really are at a critical stage where what employers do now to engage international talent could have a significant impact on the UK’s potential to Build Back Better for the rest of 2021 and beyond.”