Can UK retail combat labour shortages?

Jun 25, 2021

Published in the Retail Gazette on 3 June 2021

Read the article hereĀ 

Our immigration manager, Karendeep Kaur commented on how can UK retail combat labour shortages amid COVID-19 & Brexit.

The decline of foreign workers in the UK has been accelerated by the pandemic and the final stages of the Brexit process.

The UK retail sector in particular has been struggling to hire staff.

So, can UK retail combat labour shortages?

It has been suggested that by changing to a digital business model retail companies can not only recover but thrive and dominate the market and candidate pools.

There can be many benefits to a digital business model, such as access to global channels, international talent, minimised labour taxes and diversity.

Due to the reopening of retail and hospitality hiring is at its fastest rate in years. However, the points-based system makes it more difficult for the retail industry to hire foreign workers due to low wage brackets and skills requirements for shop-floor retail work.

Karendeep said that the introduction of the Immigration Skills Charge in April 2017 “was a deterrent for employers”.

Can UK retail combat labour shortages?

Karendeep Kaur

Although the skills level has been dropped from RQF Level 6 to RQF Level 3, the English language requirement set at level B1 still pauses a challenge to some overseas candidates.

The Home Office want to encourage employers to hire staff from the existing candidate pool of British, or those who are settled or have another type of permission to be in the UK.

Karendeep explained that “retailers have a host of options other than those on the spouse/PBS dependant routes”.

Positions could be filled by students or those on a Youth Mobility visa. Retailers could also recruit from those who switch into the graduate route after its launch on 1 July 2021.

If you need advice on hiring from overseas or checking a UK candidate’s right to work contact us.