Examination of Witness

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:44 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Matthew Fell:

I would make a couple of observations which may be helpful. Clearly, the example I am going to give is retrospective, which does not apply. My understanding is that the figures are something in the order of three quarters of all EU workers in the UK today. If these rules were enforced with the new system as envisaged, those would be out of scope for the new proposed system. That gives you a little about the order of magnitude of the volume and scope of workers currently here that would be caught by that—that is what we believe.

You ask what an employer would face additionally. Those 30,000 firms are principally focused around the largest businesses in the UK. We know that the non-EU approach is quite complex. You typically enlist significant legal advice—it is sensible to do so—or you develop in-house expertise. While it is an administrative headache for the largest businesses, they are employing a sufficient volume of people to make it sensible and worth their while to invest in expertise and legal advice and so on—at least it is feasible for them to do that. I think it would have a stark impact on small and medium-sized businesses that possibly do not use the system with sufficient frequency that they get familiar with it, and in which the resources would bite even more if they needed to take on outside expertise and advice.