The Construction Leadership Council has published a 'No Deal' Brexit report and recommendations.
The Government has been clear that EU citizens currently living and working in the UK are welcome and will be able to continue to live and work here by applying for ‘settled status’. They have also proposed temporary measures to ensure that there is no change to people crossing the UK border on the day we leave the EU if we do so without a deal. It has published its vision for the UK’s future immigration system, which will apply to people from anywhere in the world and has committed to consulting with industry.
However, the reality is that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit will generate uncertainty and may make it less likely that EU workers already in our sector will want to stay here in the UK. As well as making it significantly harder to recruit the labour and skills we need to deliver our projects.
Leaving the EU without a deal will mean that the timeline to apply for ‘settled status’ underthe Government’s new scheme will be shorter. It is therefore important that companies promote the awareness of this scheme and support their employees through the application process.
Whilst a ‘No Deal’ Brexit creates the greatest risks, it should be noted that our recommendations regarding the UK’s future immigration system are still valid whether we leave the EU with or without a deal and complements the Construction Leadership Council
Skills Strategy and Action Plan launched in July 2018.
The recommendations and actions from this report comprise:
The industry should be proactive and support its EU employees with information on how to secure settled status in the UK, as well as helping to provide any additional evidence that may be requested by the Home Office for the application.
The CLC and industry will promote the Government’s guidance to workers in the sector, including introducing information centres at some major UK project sites.
Government and industry to work together to ensure that all of the eligible EU citizens currently living in the UK and working in the construction sector (including the self-employed) are able to register for settled or pre-settled status.
The Government needs to review the proposed future immigration system to ensure it is fit for purpose for construction and avoids dramatic labour shortages in our sector which will impact the delivery of important projects across the country.
Reduce the required qualification level for a skilled worker to NVQ Level 2 to reflect the industry skilled worker status.
Add the occupations identified in Shortage Occupations in Construction: A Cross Industry research report to the Migration Advisory Committee to the Shortage Occupation List.
The Home Office must reduce the threshold to significantly below £30,000, in line with median UK salaries for skilled trade workers.
Adjust the temporary short-term workers visa to 24-months with a 12-month cooling off period. With the possibility of a path to a skilled work visa at the end of that period.
Ensure that in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit the mutual recognition of qualifications across the EU and UK is prioritised.