Uncertainty over Brexit poses a serious threat to digital technology firms in Scotland that rely on skilled workers from EU countries, it has been claimed.
Industry body ScotlandIS is urging companies to openly address the issue in order to retain staff who may be worried about their ability to continue to work in the UK.
The organisation has produced guidance for its members focusing on the residency rights of non-UK EU nationals after Britain leaves the Eurpean Union.
The industry in Scotland, which is said to already be facing a skills shortage, employed 4,000 people from EU countries in 2015, representing 11.5% of its workforce, according to figures from ScotlandIS.
Svea Miesch, the organisation’s research and policy manager, said: “Understandably the future status and rights of EU nationals living and working in the UK is a subject of particular importance and concern for our members. Many of Scotland’s digital technologies companies employ staff from other EU countries, but that is not the only issue.
“We have companies that are owned by non-UK EU nationals, and EU students studying at Scottish universities are an important source of future talent for our industry.”
She added: “It’s important to note that nothing will change until at least March 2019 when the UK leaves the EU. Until then, the UK has to guarantee freedom of movement for citizens of other EU countries.”
The guidance was produced in association with law firm Brodies LLP. Lynne Marr, an employment law specialist and partner at the firm, recommended companies should start with an overview of the immigration status of all employees.