An urgent new action plan has been developed in an effort to keep Aberdeen City Council’s “dedicated” European workforce amid mounting Brexit uncertainty.
A report to next week’s city growth committee reveals that some 4.75% of the local authority’s staff hail from EU countries.
Excluding Irish nationals, who are unaffected, that means 3.8% of the authority’s workforce will now need to apply for residency.
And there have been concerns that following the UK’s leave vote, there could be an exodus of important staff, including teachers and social workers.
In December, it emerged that 333 European workers had already quit their jobs at Aberdeen City Council since the Brexit vote in 2016.
Across the city, 13.4% of Aberdeen’s residents are from other EU countries, illustrating its multicultural makeup.
Under the council’s new plan, a new “creative” recruitment campaign would be launched to refill the roles and, where short-term “critical” shortages are found, overtime for existing employees may be needed.
The report reads: “It is very difficult to comprehensively predict the workforce implications of EU Exit.
“It is dependent on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without an agreement and the content and wider impacts of any such agreement.
“There are still open questions about the expected shape of the labour market, employment law and immigration policy and the length and operation of any transitional period.”
The report does, however, add that “The risk of employees leaving the UK in the short-term at least, as a result of EU Exit, is considered to be a much lower risk scenario than originally envisaged”.
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “All of our employees are assets to the council and the people they serve.
“As part of the impact assessment, our officers have brought forward a risk and mitigation register on certain scenarios depending on the agreement the UK reaches with the European Union on Brexit.”
Opposition SNP group leader Stephen Flynn said: “This council report paints an incredibly worrying picture as key staff members, including teachers, are likely to be impacted by the nonsensical decision of the Tories to drag Scotland out of the EU.
“There have been numerous examples of the settled status scheme failing at its most basic level and, on a personal level, I think it’s disgusting that any council employee or otherwise should be forced to register to stay in the city, and country, they have made their home.”