Fears immigration reform will hit London construction sector

Author: CONNOR IBBETSON

Leading industry figures have aired their concerns over new government immigration policies, claiming that they could damage the capital’s construction sector.

With over 50% of non-UK construction workers based in London, plans to clamp down on “non-skilled”, low wage workers could hit the construction industry hard, according to industry bosses.

Under the proposals, those wanting a long-term stay in the UK would need to secure a job offer with a minimum salary of between £20,000 and £50,000 – the exact cut off point has yet to be decided. The new policy also removes the preference for those from the EU, with all immigrants treated equally regardless of country of origin.

The most recent data, taken from the 2011 census, estimated that approximately 11% of the UK’s construction workforce was non-UK born. However, over half of all non-UK born construction workers are based in the capital, and they make up 44% of London’s total construction workforce.

Leading industry figures have aired their concerns over new government immigration policies, claiming that they could damage the capital’s construction sector.

With over 50% of non-UK construction workers based in London, plans to clamp down on “non-skilled”, low wage workers could hit the construction industry hard, according to industry bosses.

Under the proposals, those wanting a long-term stay in the UK would need to secure a job offer with a minimum salary of between £20,000 and £50,000 – the exact cut off point has yet to be decided. The new policy also removes the preference for those from the EU, with all immigrants treated equally regardless of country of origin.

The most recent data, taken from the 2011 census, estimated that approximately 11% of the UK’s construction workforce was non-UK born. However, over half of all non-UK born construction workers are based in the capital, and they make up 44% of London’s total construction workforce.

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has voiced concern over the future of the industry without access to labour that could be deemed ‘‘low skilled’’ under the new policy.

Reynolds told New Civil Engineer: “It is very disappointing that the government has failed to listen to industry on the importance of maintaining access to a broad mix of labour after Brexit. The future of the UK’s construction and engineering sectors relies on the availability of both highly skilled specialists and so-called ‘low skilled’ labour.”

“Without access to the right mix of skills we will be unable to deliver sustainable construction growth after Brexit.”

Data from the Office of National Statistics lists the median yearly salary for the construction industry as just over £27,000.

Source: https://www.newcivilengineer.com/latest/fears-immigration-reform-will-hit-london-construction-sector/10035728.article