Seven of the construction industry’s major trade bodies have delivered a Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto – setting out what they believe to be the sector’s responsibilities and requirements in a post-Brexit labour market.
The Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto commits the sector to doing more to recruit and train additional UK workers to reduce its future reliance on migrant labour. However, it makes clear that this will not be able to happen overnight and that, for some time, there will likely remain an ongoing need for significant levels of skilled EU workers.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, commented: “We know we need to step up as an industry and train more home-grown talent but we also have to be realistic about the future. There will continue to be some ongoing need for migrant workers and our post-Brexit migration rules will need to be fit for purpose.”
The document sets down the industry’s key messages to the Government on what it will need from a post-Brexit immigration system in order to be able to deliver the Government’s strategic objectives for new housing and infrastructure:
- The Government should agree a transition period of at least two years as soon as possible, during which time EU workers arriving in the UK should continue to have a path to settled status.
- The post-transitional migration system should be based on key occupations that are in short supply, rather than on arbitrary thresholds based on skill levels or income.
The Manifesto comes with the support of seven major construction trade bodies: Federation of Master Builders, Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Build UK, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Products Association, Home Builders Federation, and National Federation of Builders .
Suzannah Nichol MBE, Chief Executive of Build UK, said: “Construction, like other major industry sectors, has substantial concerns over the impact of Brexit on its ability to recruit, train and retain talent. It is essential that industry works together to present the need for an effective partnership between Government and industry, enabling us to deliver the UK’s infrastructure, homes and communities.”
John Slaughter, Director of External Affairs at the Home Builders Federation, added: “With the Budget having confirmed a target to deliver 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, home builders will need to continue to bring more skilled people into the industry. Companies are building on their existing investment through the successful work of the CITB-supported Home Building Skills Partnership and are committed to doing even more, but to deliver the national social and economic necessity of an improved housing supply we will also continue to need access to foreign workers under a manageable migration system.”