Scottish businesses face huge potential skill shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit, accountancy firm French Duncan said.
It is claimed that replacing EU workers in sectors such as hospitality, retail and agriculture - with a disproportionately high number of EU citizens - would be a "costly and difficult exercise".
French Duncan said that as there are currently an estimated 235,000 people from the EU working in Scotland, and there is a low unemployment rate here, any major shift in this working population could pose problems in filling vacancies.
Louise McCosh, HR services director at French Duncan LLP, noted that after Brexit all EU nationals who have lived in Scotland for five years or more can apply for "settled status" while those who have lived here for fewer than five years can apply for "pre-settled status".
She said: "The cost of applying for this status is £65 per adult and £32.50 per child so for a family of four it is just under £200.
"While it is the responsibility of the individual to apply for this status it may be in the interests of employers to encourage their workforce to do so with information or even with financial incentives.
"Employers need to prepare for a number of options."
Firms should be encouraging existing EU workers to remain in post by helping them with their status applications and planning for a potential fall in the number of EU employees by "advertising posts more widely, increasing wages, highlighting pension options and other means to attract UK applicants".
Article published by The Herald, Friday 16th November 2018.