Cleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 16th March 2023 Issue no. 1056
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Data shows post-Brexit immigration plans will hurt UK cleaning sector
The Government's post-Brexit immigration plans are aimed at reducing the number of what it says are low skilled workers entering the country. Along with the farming, catering, nursing and care sectors, it is highly likely that workers in the gig economy will be excluded from the ‘skilled’ category.
The proposals are likely to intensify the fall in immigrants coming to the UK to work. According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics, EU net migration is now less than half the level it was at its peak and more workers from Eastern European countries are leaving than arriving. This trend is already impacting on the UK cleaning sector.
Ana Andres, co-founder of TidyChoice, a platform for independent cleaners, analysed the source of their applications over the past five years. TidyChoice receives over 10,000 applications annually and is a good proxy for the overall cleaning sector.
"The rate of applications from Eastern European nationalities has diminished drastically since the Brexit referendum,” says Ana. “Better job prospects at home, weaker Sterling and Brexit uncertainty are the main reasons for the fall. We have maintained strong growth in total applications by plugging the gap with ever increasing applications from other countries.
“Currently only 40% of our applications come from UK nationals. Without overseas workers, it will be very difficult for us to achieve our targeted 30-40% annual increase in applications that we need to support business growth and counter natural attrition.
“The Government is calling on companies to ‘adapt and adjust’. We cannot automate in our sector and the pool of UK citizens seeking cleaning work will quickly dry up. I am worried that without new workers coming to the UK, the sector will shrink and consumer prices will inevitably increase."
20th February 2020