UK employers are “fearful” about what a future migration system will be like after Britain leaves the European Union, according to a new report.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said businesses are concerned about their ability to recruit workers from the EU after Britain leaves the EU.
The interim report is part of a review assessing the impact of Brexit on the UK labour market.
The Home Office said it was committed to “sustainable migration”.
Many employers expressed the view that migrants from the European Economic Area (EEA) are more reliable and more willing to work long and anti social hours than UK born workers, the report said.
In low-skilled jobs, absenteeism rates were 40% lower among migrants from countries including Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, compared with British workers.
The report found while EU migrants from the original EU countries are paid 12% more than comparable UK workers, those from newer member states are paid 27% less.
But the claim by employers that they would not attract more UK workers even if they raised wages, was “not credible”, the report added.
The review – commissioned by Home Secretary Amber Rudd – took views from more than 400 businesses, industry bodies, government departments and other organisations.
It will help the government draw up an Immigration Bill as part of expected changes to the system when Britain leaves the EU next March.
It considers migration from the EEA, which includes the EU, as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.
The Home Office welcomed the report and said the evidence it included would be considered in the development of a new migration system which “works in the best interests of the whole of the UK”.