On 19 December 2018 the Government published the Immigration White Paper. This sets out the Government’s proposals for the design of a new immigration system. Key elements are:

  • A skilled workers route open to all nationalities.
  • Lowering of the skills threshold on the skilled workers route to include medium-skilled workers (to RQF 3-5, equivalent to A-Levels), with a retention of the £30K salary threshold, but businesses will be consulted on this – this is in parallel to the ongoing review of the Shortage Occupations List being conducted by the Migration Advisory Committee.
  • No cap on numbers on the skilled workers route, meaning that business will be able to hire any suitable qualified migrant.
  • The abolition of the resident labour market test.
  • A new ‘transitional’ time limited route for temporary short-term workers of all skill levels, including seasonal low-skilled workers, which will allow workers to come to the UK for a maximum of 12 months, with a subsequent 12 month ‘cooling off’ period (again, these will be subject to consultation). However, this route will only be open to workers from a limited number of ‘low risk’ countries. This is set out on p16-17 of the White Paper; and
  • An extension to the post-study period for all international students.

Iain McIlwee, FIS chief executive said ‘This new white paper on immigration, if adopted, will create real challenge for construction businesses. It just makes no sense to have arbitrary caps, we need to look at where the need is and salary/employment is only part of the workforce.  The brief nod to construction in this document just shows how little our Government understand an industry that embraces around one in ten of the workforce in the UK.  We are working through Build UK and the Construction Products Association and with a group of other construction bodies to respond to this document, we will be taking the fight to Westminster in the New Year’.

A link to the full document is available here.

Last chance to fill in the Construction Industry Immigration Survey. Closing date is Friday 21 December. Please spend 5 mins completing, we need this data to underpin concerns we are raising with Government around future immigration policy.