Most EU nationals working in the UK would not meet visa requirements if the UK left the EU, according to a new report.

Research carried out by the Migration Observatory at Oxford University showed that in the retail, hotel, restaurant and farming sector at least 95% of staff would fail to meet the criteria imposed on non-EU nationals who want to work in Britain.

For non-EU nationals wanting to come to the UK the main visa category applied is Tier 2. To gain this visa they must be sponsored by a UK employer, have a job offer in a graduate-level occupation and be earning a minimum salary of £20,800. If Britain were to leave the EU these requirements could be placed on EU nationals who want to work in the UK.

Report author Carlos Vargas-Silva said: Overall, therefore, most EU-born workers—like most workers of all origins—are not in jobs that meet the criteria for Tier 2 visas.

“In 2015, 19% of people born in EU countries and working as employees in the UK were in a skilled job earning more than £20,000”

The report, which was commissioned by the Financial Times, said if Britain were to leave the EU it was difficult to say exactly how it would affect EU nationals coming to the UK to work.

“EU exit could mean tighter controls on the migration of EU nationals, but free movement could also remain largely unaffected if the UK were to follow a model such as that of Norway.”

Ultimately it would depend on the industry as to how far the move away from the working picture we have today would be, according to the report.

Disclaimer: The material contained in this article is for general information only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. Readers should seek an appropriate professional for advice regarding their particular circumstances.
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