In a disappointing report from the Migration Advisory Committee, there appears to be little hope of seeing the Shortage Occupations List (used within the new  proposed Points Based Immigration System) of large parts of the construction industry being able to rely on any new immigration.  Only shortages in Bricklayers and Welders were deemed significant enough for medium-skill occupations to be included in the shortage occupation list ahead of the introduction of a points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021.

FIS has raised concerns with officials from The Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that interior systems installers have not been included as an eligible occupation for the skilled worker route in the outline plans for a UK Points Based Immigration System post Brexit and continues to lobby through the Construction Leadership Council that urgent review is required.

A new points‐based immigration system which will apply to EU and non‐EU citizens and require those that want to work in the UK to meet a specific set of requirements. In addition to passing the relevant UK criminality checks, the job must have a salary of at least £20,480, and 50 points are ‘earned’ by meeting the following mandatory criteria:

  • The applicant must have an offer of a job from a licensed sponsor
  • The job must be at or above the minimum skill level: RQF3 level or equivalent (A level or equivalent qualification). Workers will not need to hold a formal qualification; it is the skill level of the job they will be doing which is important
  • The applicant must speak English to an acceptable standard.

The report notes in key areas that a high proportion of self-employed workers within key trades means that there would be limited benefits even if it were added to the SOL.

The MAC provides independent advice on which medium-skill occupations should be included in the shortage occupation lists ahead of the introduction of a points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021.

Commenting on the report FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee stated: “We are being hit by a double whammy here, the nature of construction means how we engage labour is not akin to other parts of the economy and this simply hasn’t been reflected in Government thinking, added to this, the incentives to push through to Level 3 qualifications have not been strong enough and they have withered on the vine in some key trades.  I also think that the impact of COVID adds to the problem, rather than alleviates as this report seems to suggest and if we are going to Build Build Build as the Prime Minister is suggesting, we need the bodies to do this.  I think few would disagree that we do need to invest more in training as a sector, but the timing here means that we are expecting things to be tight in the New Year, this will impact programme and potentially quality.  We are already getting reports from members that the availability of skilled workers in parts of the country is tight as workers from parts of Europe went home to ride out the pandemic and have decided not to return.  We are recommending all members as a matter of urgency talk to their workers about applying for settled and pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.”

You can read the full report here.

For information on the EU Settlement Scheme click here

FIS has prepared an overview paper based on concerns with the proposed UK Points Based Immigration System here.