The UK’s Brexit vote will affect the dental sector in terms of funding, staffing and scientific advancement. But what does the result mean for recruitment across the dental industry?
Currently EU citizens have the right to live and work in the UK under European law, and can take their families with them, if they can support themselves without relying on public funds. The vote to leave may see this state of affairs change. At present, the UK has access to a pool of dental professionals far larger than that provided within its own borders. However, what’s not clear is whether currently a dental professional necessarily opts to work in the UK just because they are permitted to do so. The current issues of how best to attract top dental professionals, which include the UK’s appeal in terms of career opportunities, earnings potential and standard of living, compared to other northern European countries, will still remain part of the recruitment landscape.
As Brexit becomes a reality and the UK disentangles itself from the legislation that defines EU governance, dental recruitment in the UK will certainly feel the effects. It’s no secret that dental practices have turned time and time again to other EU countries in their efforts to fill vacancies. It is estimated that the dental sector has benefited from the recruitment of some 100,000 professionals over recent years.
Even as part of the EU, those seeking to recruit dental professionals already struggle. It’s impossible to predict with any accuracy how Brexit will impact the UK’s dentistry sector. However, it seems safe to say that it will not help in tackling the current shortage of dental professionals. That’s because Brexit will likely bring broader restrictions on EU workers gaining employment in the UK.
The dental industry could potentially lobby the UK government to increase visa quotas for dental professionals from outside the EU. Reviewing and lifting current restrictions could be one example of how the Brexit effect could be partially negated. As our population expands and our workforce retires, another option would be to place dentistry permanently on the skills shortage list.
Of course, it won’t only be foreign workers whose employment choices are changed. UK-born citizens, currently permitted to move to and work in any other EU country, may find themselves suddenly limited. How Brexit will change this scenario for those already working and living abroad, and those hoping to do so is unclear. It seems likely that it will become much more difficult to begin a new life in an EU country as a dental professional. Ultimately, this could mean more British-born dental professionals opting to stay and work in the country where they were born. This could actually prove the silver lining from Brexit if restrictions are placed on UK citizens working in Europe.
It seems clear that drastic measures will be required if we are to provide the UK’s Dental industry with the skilled, experienced and permitted-to-work professionals they need to hit those demanding UDA’s!
Image © Mikhailmishchenko | Dreamstime.com – Flags Of European Union And United Kingdom. Brexit Concept Photo