Brexit bites as EU workers start to say screw you UK we are outa here…

If there is one advantage to having kids it is that it does increase your circle of friends. Humans need social contact, especially when going through the misery joy of having your first child. We compare notes with other parents, we sympathise when they tell you their baby is not sleeping even though inside we are delighted that at least our kid is not as bad as there’s. We force a smile when another parent tells us how their little darling slept all night from three weeks. Bringing up a child is a surprising competitive sport.

Anyway, one of our baby buddies is a nice German couple. Dispute our local cynicism the foreigners I come across love living in Belfast. Sure, the buses never turn up on time and there is dogsh*t everywhere but they like the friendliness of the people. This German couple were happy working away in a local IT  company, enjoying life in Belfast and all was right in the world. Until, you guessed it, Brexit.

Although it has not even happened yet the uncertainty is enough for foreign workers to start packing their bags. In the case of the German couple, they have a second child on the way. Before Brexit, they planned to buy a house in Belfast now there is just too much uncertainty. Instead, they are busy applying for jobs in Germany and Switzerland. Also, there is a feeling of the UK just do not want us anymore so feck ya we are out of here.

Their company has quite a few foreign workers and they are not alone in looking at the exit. Already the company is so short staffed that they are offering staff 6 grand if they help them recruit someone into the more niche vacant roles – 6 grand! To stem the exit flood the company is offering to pay the costs of applying for your leave to remain status. But anyone who has ever dealt with Home Office Immigration will know that it is a Kafkaesque process so frustrating it will have you booking your Ryanair flight out of here faster than you can say Nigel Farage.

You see the thing Brexiters do not seem to realise is you can’t magic skilled workers out of thin air. From Health to IT practically every sector of our economy has a skills shortage. The NHS for example would simply not be able to function is all the foreign staff upped and left.

I hear at a local college for some courses EU applications are down 20% already. Recruitment is also taking a hit with EU staff not taking up job offers.

The thing about highly mobile skilled workers is that they are er… highly mobile. They are already living the life of an expat, it does not matter to them if it is Belfast, Dublin, Amsterdam or Berlin. If your host country does not want you there are 100 other countries who will be delighted to welcome you.

Even at the other extreme of the jobs market for unskilled work farms, hospitality industry and companies like Moypark just could not survive without foreign workers.

But Brexiters will say it’s not about kicking out the foreigners it is about taking back control. That as may be but talk to a few foreign workers and get their take on it. Discouraging the brightest and the best from coming to the UK is economic suicide. Making the workers that are here feel unwelcome is just plain daft.

I help keep the good ship Slugger afloat by managing the business and techy stuff. My day job is creating websites and software. My personal site is:

  • Hugh Davison

    In the few hundred thousand years of humanity’s existence one thing has been constant, and that is migration. Your appearance, colour, language and personality is all down to migration. The nation state, a nineteenth century construct, is a mere blip on the timeline. Migration will go on, with or without your petty concerns about security and wall-building.

  • Hugh Davison

    You support, but you lament. Pilate?

  • Sam Carruthers

    Pointless article. Ever heard of a working visa. It’s pretty common. Immigration is the largest concern for the UK citizens. The economy is a bit lower. I’m in Australia. I’ll be arriving in the UK to fill spaces.

  • Starviking

    It was a thing of the times. Route closures also occured in GB.

  • Starviking

    I am surprised at the willful igronrance and wishful thinking displayed by the response to my posts.

    Here’s what you say:

    to paraphrase, the North-West has poor infrastructure because of historical decisions that were based upon sectarian considerations, and now you are saying that investment doesn’t happen, not because of sectarian considerations, but due to poor infrastructure.

    Now, I was talking about the choice of relocating the UU Jordanstown Campus into Belfast. That’s a current issue, and was brought up by yourself.

    Simian Droog said that the transport system could have been invested in, and the travel issues I brought up would not have been an issue.

    The answer to that is they were not invested in, so they cannot ameliorate any current issue related to transport.

    Now if you have an operational time-machine, then maybe this is not an issue – but for thouse of us without such a device, we have to make do with what we have at present

    With regards to moving Uni places to Belfast so that staff have a shorter commute – is that a sick wee joke you are enjoying to yourself? A lot of people currently commute to Belfast from the North West every day for work so if its good enough for them.

    “A lot of people commute” What poor logic. Maybe we can keep the uni accomodations in Belfast too? Has it occured to you in your apparent MOPEry that professors and clerical staff may have something better to do with their day than a mandated 4 hour daily commute?

    Ultimately its short sited decisions like this, based upon sectarian considerations, that will hasten the demise in NI.

    Based on sectarian considerations? Perhaps based on considerations such as:

    Derry’s hinterland is rural, and includes Donegal, one of the poorest counties in ireland. It is constrained by steep hills, and compared to Belfast is far from the main markets of the UK.

    Investment have been made in the City for a long time – DuPont, Seagate are notable. It has been hit by changes in industries – textiles being one example, and UK national defence rationalisations too. No sectarianism is apparent in those examples, though if you want to enlighten me, feel free.

  • Starviking

    Yup, the NI rail network is a joke, but the demographics and the rise of the bus and motor car have their part to play. Sure the Strabane to Derry line was closed – by the The County Donegal Railways Joint Committee in 1954: plenty of blame to spread around. The rail map of Ireland, North and South shows plenty of line closures in the 20th Century.

  • Starviking

    Partition of course had an effect, as did the rise of the motor car and bus.