The CLC welcomes the recent CITB Migration and Construction report. While the British construction workforce is still largely made up of UK nationals, migrant workers play a critical role in some regions and in filling skills shortages in professions and trades. The CITB has been working with firms to assemble the best possible evidence base on the contribution that migrant workers make to the industry in the UK.
CITB has been working with the sector to help them prepare for Brexit and the associated changes to the migration system. The research report examines potential visa routes based on those proposed in the Government’s December 2018 White Paper. The report reflects industry’s views on the proposals in the White Paper, and offers industry recommendations on how the migration system can work for construction while we continue to grow our domestic workforce.
The report reveals that:
• 70% of employers of non-UK born construction workers see the ‘low skilled’ visa for people with level 2 qualifications unsuitable for their business;
• Construction employers are looking for flexibility in the new system to enable migrant workers to stay in the UK to take the qualifications they need to become more highly skilled and contribute to construction growth;
• 41% of EU migrant workers in construction are self-employed who, under current plans, may be lost to the sector because there is no visa system to cover them.
The CITB has also worked with the industry to develop an action plan for the future workforce. Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry sets out the twin-track strategy which will see CITB working with government to agree how they can maintain access to migrant workers while also building the domestic workforce.
Industry has three key recommendations:
• The post-Brexit immigration white paper proposal for a ‘low-skilled’ visa of 12 months should be extended to 24 months;
• That non-UK born workers entering the UK on a ‘low skilled’ visa be allowed to transition to a ‘high skilled’ visa while remaining in the UK;
• An ‘Umbrella Sponsorship’ scheme is needed to allow self-employed non-UK workers to obtain sponsorship, so that their skills are not lost.
If you wish to discuss any aspect of this report you can contact the CITB Policy and Government Relations team.