Motorsport is concerned that
Brexit will put the brakes
on Formula One

There is an area in the Midlands and Oxfordshire nicknamed Motorsport Valley. It’s where seven out of 10 of the Formula One teams are based. But this niche industry and centre of global excellence is concerned that the government’s current immigration policy is forcing them into the slow lane.

The automotive sector currently has a shortage of 20,000 professionals. As we’ve discussed previously, engineers who work in electricity, oil and gas, aerospace and the nuclear industries are all protected as ‘shortage occupations’. This provides the UK employer a greater degree of certainty when seeking to hire certain talent from overseas via the Tier 2 visa process. However, automotive engineers only have a few specific roles on the shortage occupation list.

In addition, the average salary for someone in this industry is rarer more than £45,000 depending on experience. This is lower that the previous minimum salary requirement of £50,000 that was enforced from November 2017 until August of this year, in order for an employer to hire an overseas migrant into a UK-based role.

While elite Motorsport experiences uncertainty, the domestic car industry has already seen a falling off of orders.  Dave Shemmans, the CEO of engineering and transport consultancy Ricardo said:

‘You can see what’s been happening with Ford and Jaguar Land Rover both suffering depleted sales. But we also think this is a reaction by consumer of just not buying cars, resulting from a combination of Brexit and the anti-diesel campaign.’

As there is usually a three- to four-month wait to obtain a work visa from start to finish, there is concern within motorsport that overseas companies will relocate and business confidence will stall.

The country that has produced Aston Martin, Bentley, Lotus, McLaren, MG, Mini, Morgan and Rolls-Royce needs to steer the present immigration policy in the right direction.

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