The Government has set down here its new migration policy. The announcement has been greeted with a cautious welcome from construction leaders:
Mark Reynolds, Mace CEO and Construction Leadership Council Skills lead stated:
“Led by the CLC, organisations across the sector have been investing heavily in developing local ‘homegrown’ talent for our industry, working together to create a clear route from school and training into full time employment in construction for people across the UK. However, we still face a significant talent gap and for the time being must rely on being able to access the right mix of people and expertise from overseas to effectively meet the UK’s infrastructure and built environment requirements.
We are pleased to have clarity on this Government’s proposals for the UK’s future immigration system; but unfortunately the new system is likely to make it harder for the UK construction sector to deliver the homes and infrastructure we so desperately need.
We welcome the salary thresholds being lowered to £25,600 in line with the MAC recommendations, however the decision to set skills thresholds to RQF3-5 is a disappointment, as it disregards skilled trades such as bricklayers and carpenters are qualified to level RQF2. This decision will impact on the ability of the sector to deliver the homes we so desperately need to solve the housing crisis.”
Iain McIlwee, CEO at FIS stated: “It is encouraging that the recommendations are being carried, but we need clarity on the trades that fall within the wider pool for RQF3. Assuming Government mean to absorb the deep thinking that went into the latest MAC Report, key trades such as Plastering (and through this SOC Code Drylining) and carpentry and joinery would fall into this category, but this is not yet clear. Surely this should just be about what our economy needs at the time, not arbitrary thresholds? Beyond the specifics. something makes me very uncomfortable in the language around all of this as it seems to endorse out dated academic snobbery and position our workforce as low-skilled. Construction delivers for the economy and is a vital enabler and driver for growth, it is a great career choice for around 10% of the population. We would like to encourage more young people to join our diverse workforce, but if we keep talking it down there is no doubt we’ll need to continue to rely on overseas workers long into the future.”
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