Britain must retain and build a skilled workforce - NFB

Posted On: 
18th September 2018

The NFB warns that shortage occupation lists must be responsive and visas for self-employed workers need to be clear and comprehensible. 

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has released its Government-commissioned study, “EEA migration in the UK: Final Report”. The report set out to establish the current and likely future patterns of EEA migration.

Key recommendations include:

  • No preference for EU citizens, assuming that immigration will not be part of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement;
  • Reviewing how the sponsor licensing system works for SMEs;
  • Maintaining existing salary thresholds and extending Tier 2 (General) visas to all jobs at RFQ  (Regulated Framework of Qualifications) Level 3 and above;
  • Reviewing the shortage occupation list;
  • Retaining and revaluating the Immigration Skills Charge;
  • Abolishing the cap on the number of migrants under Tier 2 (General) visas.

Post-Brexit migration system should not give preference to European workers, says major report

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) welcomes the report, which highlights the value of migration to small and medium-sized (SMEs) builders and the construction industry. However, the NFB warned that shortage occupation lists must be responsive and visas for self-employed workers need to be clear and comprehensible.

Focussing on enabling higher-skilled migration while restricting lower-skilled migration, the report does not recommend separate, employer-led sector based routes, for low skilled migrants, with the possible exception of seasonal agricultural workers.

The MAC also states that 40% of self-employed workers are concentrated in three construction sectors and would typically qualify for a Tier 1 visa. However, due to complexities with the existing scheme, the MAC is unable to make recommendations on how it should be changed.

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said: “A lack of skilled workers stifles industry growth and the capacity to build more homes. We welcome the report’s recommendations, including a review into the shortage occupation list and the sponsor licensing system for SMEs.”

“Abolishing the cap of migrants under Tier 2 visas and reviewing shortage occupation lists would signal a positive step but, with the MAC avoiding any recommendation for self-employed workers, the Government must provide clarity to a vital part of the construction industry.”