News: UK addresses labour shortage by relaxing visa rules for international construction workers

Employee Engagement

UK addresses labour shortage by relaxing visa rules for international construction workers

Cheaper visas will not only aid international construction workers in applying for jobs but also enable UK construction firms to hire skilled labour from abroad at a reduced wage rate of 80% compared to the usual wages.
UK addresses labour shortage by relaxing visa rules for international construction workers

The United Kingdom has announced 'relaxation' in visa regulations as well as, added bricklayers and masons, roofers, roof tilers and slaters, carpenters and joiners, plasterers and other construction workers to the ‘shortage occupation list’.

The government is aiming to tackle the labour shortage in various sectors that face severe labour shortages. With cheaper visas, more construction workers will be able to apply for jobs mentioned in this list. 

However, UK’s home office said they are "temporarily easing visa restrictions" for a string of construction roles by adding them to the shortage occupation list. The aim is to attract skilled workers by allowing a reduced visa application fee.

However, to apply for a work visa for the listed jobs, the construction workers will still require a ‘sponsorship’ job offer from an employer, as well as they will have to qualify for the language requirements as per UK’s points-based immigration system as mentioned under ‘skilled workers route’.

With this decision, the government hopes to, "stimulate development" and "attract new talent" as recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the advisory board for UK’s immigration. 

The independent advisory board had previously cautioned that replacing "freedom of movement" with a points-based immigration system after Brexit might impede economic growth. Moreover, it will potentially have a "zero effect" on increasing job opportunities for British workers.

In addition, Industry leaders also warned that construction will be one of the ‘worst hit’ by the changes in immigration rules. This meant visas would ‘normally’ not be offered to migrant workers falling under the ‘low-skilled’ jobs category. 

The official spokesperson from UK’s Prime Minister's office said: "I think we've always acknowledged that in the short term, we will need to flex and use our Brexit freedoms to enable us to fill short-term occupation numbers. Obviously, the shortage occupation list is counted differently from the overall net migration figures. Long-term it's right, We do want to ensure we have a specially trained domestic workforce.” 

Furthermore, the Department for Work and Pensions "are doing a lot of work to that end to ensure that those who are inactive or off on long-term sick are being helped back into the workforce to fill some of these gaps” he added. 

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, #HRTech, #HRCommunity

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