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Employers are unprepared for the lower levels of migration pledged by the Government after the UK leaves the EU, a survey by think tank the Resolution Foundation suggests.
Almost half (46%) of companies that employed EU or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals said they did not expect any change in the number of migrants they employed over the next 12 months.
Around a quarter (24%) expected to increase the number of EU/EEA nationals they employed, and roughly the same percentage thought the proportion would decrease.
The Resolution Foundation said there was a “stark gap” between what businesses would like to emerge from Brexit negotiations and what the Government had pledged to deliver.
Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to cut migration to tens of thousands, and net migration to the UK fell by a quarter in 2016, to 248,000.
In terms of the type of migration regime businesses would like to see, almost two-thirds said no change to existing freedom of movement (38%) or a system that guarantees free movement with a job offer (26%) would work the best for their business.
Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said: “Many British firms are totally unprepared for this change, particularly when it comes to migration.
"Ministers have compounded this uncertainty by choosing not to answer questions over what a post-Brexit immigration regime might be.
“Whatever people’s views on Brexit, the journey not just the destination matter hugely to growth,