BCC’s annual workforce survey of over 1,400 businesses, held in partnership with Middlesex University London, reveals that half of UK businesses have faced skills or labour shortages in the last year, but only a minority are actively looking overseas to fill vacancies.

According to the findings of the survey, two-in-five (40%) UK businesses have employees from other EU countries on their workforce, while 23% have employees from outside the EU. 38% of businesses say future restrictions on the rights of EU nationals to work in the UK would have a negative impact on their business.

The results challenge the myth that UK firms are ignoring local workers in favour of overseas labour. With a softening economy and slowing immigration, the BCC is calling for action to ensure business growth isn’t hampered by labour shortages. Business communities need the government to provide clarity on the process for hiring EU nationals during and after the Brexit process, and to ensure the UK’s future immigration system is economically responsive, so companies have access to the skills they need.