Delivery plan needed to address construction skills crisis, warns FMB
We need a serious delivery plan in place for post-Brexit skills and immigration policy, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to the Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim update.
Commenting on the Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim update, Brian Berry Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The Migration Advisory Committee’s Interim update has set out the concerns and evidence which construction and a wide range of industries have presented. However, we now need a serious delivery plan in place to make sure it happens. The skills requirements of key sectors such as construction need to be taken into account as the Government begins to shape these policies. The construction industry should be viewed by the Government as a key strategic industry, as without it Ministers will be unable to meet their ambitious plans for the delivery of new homes and infrastructure projects. Currently over 8% of construction workers are from the EU, and in London this rises to a third. Recent FMB research shows that skills shortages across construction are already at a record high, and this will only worsen if poorly thought-through policies lead us off a cliff edge in terms of our access to skilled EU workers.”
Berry continued: “The recent news that the Government has offered permanent residency for EU nationals arriving during the post-Brexit transition period is a positive step for construction firms across the UK. However, any future migration visa system should be based on key occupations that are in short supply rather than on arbitrary thresholds based on skill levels or income. What’s more, the Government should take into account that the vast majority of the construction workforce are employed by small and micro firms. Asking these firms to sponsor foreign workers is not realistic and will simply not work for this industry. We are still waiting to see what the post-Brexit immigration system will entail, however we need a serious plan in place to ensure we have the right skills and migration policies in place for a post-Brexit Britain.”