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Brexit Migration Plan Could “Cripple Construction”

British construction is indisputably dependant upon migrant labour from within the EU. In London alone, EU migrant labour accounts for 28% of the construction industry’s workforce. The triggering of Article 50 has been a source of apprehension within the construction industry for quite some time. Thus, the industry was rattled by a recent report from The Migration Advisory Committee.

Construction experts have slammed the report, which sets out plans for a new immigration policy post-Brexit. Key figures in the construction industry have spoken out about perceived inconsistencies in government immigration policy pertaining to different industries.
Much to the annoyance of construction veterans, the committee has decided not to make construction a special case when it comes to the relaxing of immigration legislature to provide the industry with a steady stream of lower-skilled workers.
Inconsistencies
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders lambasted the report’s implicit inconsistencies in which industries it grants leniency. Berry stated:
“The report explicitly recommends that there should be no migration route for lower skilled workers with a possible exception for seasonal agricultural workers... Given the important role migrant workers have played, and the already high levels of employment in the UK workforce, it is crucial that the post-Brexit immigration system allows us to continue to hire workers of varying skill levels, regardless of where they are from.”
Crippling infrastructure
Industry experts have fundamental disagreements with the government’s skills based immigration policy which could prove restrictive to the industry. The construction industry has lobbied the government for a visa system based on key occupations instead of what they consider to be arbitrary skill levels. CECA Director of External Affairs, Marie-Claude Hemming stated that the reports implications could potentially slow down the development of infrastructure across the UK. Industry reform champion Mark Farmer, however, opined that the government is using the immigration issue to push modernisation of the industry.
While this may be admirable, experts are concerned that the construction industry will not be able to adapt quickly enough to a massively reduced workforce.