Construction warning over skilled EU worker numbers

Construction industry leaders are urging the Government to agree a Brexit transition period of at least two years to give EU workers arriving in this country a path to 'settled status'.

Wednesday, 29th November 2017, 6:00 am
Seven industry groups have cooperated to issue a warning for the future

Seven trade bodies joined forces to warn there will still be a need for “significant” numbers of skilled EU workers even with firms doing more to recruit UK employees.

A Brexit manifesto for the construction sector calls for the post-transitional migration system to be based on occupations in short supply.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said: “The construction industry has been criticised in the past for being too disparate but it has come together here with one voice and set of clear messages.

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“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.”

Richard Beresford, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said: “With the country facing a shortage of skilled workers and the most acute housing crisis in living memory, the Government needs to provide certainty to existing EU workers in the UK and enable construction SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) to attract more home-grown talent into the industry.”

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said it was essential that industry work together to “present the need for an effective partnership between Government and industry, enabling us to deliver the UK’s infrastructure, homes and communities.”