Accessible labour: a necessity for regional economic prosperity

CBI Northern Ireland has today launched a new report ‘All Together Better: Accessible Labour – a Necessity for Regional Economic Prosperity’ which highlights the acute need for local private and public-sector employers to have continued access to the people and skills they need to succeed post-Brexit.

Citing NI’s demographic challenges, alongside the persistent exodus of young people to study and work outside the region, the report demonstrates how NI employers have become reliant on a steady inflow of international workers provided by EU membership and the Common Travel Area.

Firms are extremely concerned about proposals to reduce migration levels into the UK to the ‘tens of thousands’ in a post-Brexit settlement. Applying in-depth economic research, All Together Better identifies several key findings:

  • Northern Ireland’s economy faces a much greater economic impact from reduced migration relative to the rest of the UK
  • A scenario featuring a 50% reduction in EU inward migration only would decrease Northern Ireland’s GDP by 5.3% by 2041  
  • A low inward migration scenario for both EU and international workers would decrease Northern Ireland’s GDP by 9.1% by 2041 
  • Under these same scenarios, the working age population in Northern Ireland would shrink by around 6% and 8% respectively
  • Changing demographics and a reduced access to migrant workers will impact some Northern Irish sub-regions, such as Derry & Strabane and Armagh City, Craigavon & Banbridge more than others