Construction Enquirer News Labourers, dry liners, asbestos removers and some plant operators fall outside skilled workers safety net

Construction’s leaders are warning that visas for foreign low-skilled workers will need to be extended from one to two years after Brexit.

Many skilled trades like bricklayers, carpenters and electricians can now work in the UK after Brexit after being classified in the Tier 2 category, which allows a five-year stay.

But contractors are worried that they still face disruption because several roles remain outside of the proposed new system.

Andy Mitchell, chairman of the Construction Leadership Council, has written to business secretary Alok Sharma warning that construction needs further dispensations.

UK construction sector employs a significant number of skilled and unskilled foreign workers, thought to account for over 14% of the construction workforce.

While the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis will see job losses, increasing the supply of labour in the short term, Mitchell warns that in the longer term, the industry will continue to need access to foreign labour.

He said that the industry welcomed the Government’s decision to include key construction trades in the tier 2 skilled work category, and that the new entrant route is to include those working towards professional qualifications.

“However, a number of roles remain outside of the proposed new system such as labourers, dry liners, asbestos removers and some plant operators, despite a clear need for them.

“The Government’s proposal for low-skilled migrant labour is the temporary worker route.

“However, if this is to work for our sector, the duration of the work permit will need to be extended to two years.”

“We ask that you consider amending the proposed Bill to reflect these concerns; otherwise the industry will be faced with a shortage of labour supply.”

 

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