Business leaders have suggested that Brexit should be delayed until a proper trade deal is struck between the UK and the EU. If completion of such a deal does not happen within the two years prescribed under Article 50, the UK should seek an extension to the negotiating period. However, an extension would only be possible if all EU member states agreed. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) published a report in which they demanded that businesses should be able to continue recruiting skilled and low-skilled EU workers without restrictions even after Brexit. It is calling for an immigration system “with minimal bureaucracy, costs or barriers“, with EU workers exempted from the Tier 2 visa system for skilled workers. However, this aim seems incompatible with the government’s expressed objective to bring immigration down to tens of thousands a year.
BCC director general, Adam Marshall said: “Business communities across the UK want practical considerations, not ideology or politics, at the heart of the government’s approach to Brexit negotiations“. In his opinion, businesses are not concerned with what is debated in Westminster. He then went on to say: “Most firms care little about the exact process for triggering Article 50, but they care a lot about an unexpected VAT hit to their cash flow, sudden changes to regulation, the inability to recruit the right people for the job, or if their products are stopped by customs authorities at the border.”
However, in a video message to the BCC, UK prime minister, Theresa May, stressed her desire for a “global Britain” after Brexit. Mrs May is aiming to make Britain an “even stronger, fairer and more successful country” than it is today. She said: “We can seize an historic opportunity for a global Britain to lead the world in shaping the forces of globalisation so that everyone shares in the benefits of economic growth.“