MANY Scottish firms’ already great fears about their continued ability to employ the overseas workers they need will have intensified significantly within the last fortnight, as the Conservatives have signalled an alarmingly strong appetite for “hard Brexit”.
Companies operating in a huge variety of sectors, from shortbread through engineering to information technology, are very dependent on workers from other European Union countries, and from further afield, for their success.
There has naturally been a lot of concern about whether people from other EU states who live here will be able to remain following Brexit. These worries are obviously most immediate for the people themselves, although this concern will be shared by their employers.
Bryan Buchan, chief executive of industry body Scottish Engineering, has highlighted his sector’s need for skilled workers from other EU member countries.
Meanwhile, a recent survey from trade body ScotlandIS showed three-quarters of Scottish information technology companies fear Brexit will have a detrimental impact on their access to skilled staff.
Polly Purvis, chief executive of ScotlandIS, said: “The vast majority of our member companies will have [non-UK] Europeans in their workforce working in Scotland already. There is a challenge in making those people feel secure, to stay on. We need more of these people to come and work in the Scottish sector as well.”