CIOB responds to UK government’s announcement about a new points-based immigration system
This week the UK government announced they will introduce an Immigration Bill to bring in a points-based system for those who want to come and work in the UK.
This new immigration system will be implemented from January 2021 and government will be working with the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and the Home Office to provide further detail on the new points-based system, including detailed guidance regarding points tables, shortage occupations and qualifications.
The skills gap has been an uphill battle for many construction firms who have seen a large increase in the ageing workforce and are struggling to attract and retain new talent. To help plug this gap, the industry has often relied upon migrant labour to deliver both small and large projects across the UK.
The CIOB is pleased to see that the government has provided some clarity on the future of immigration, but remains concerned the current proposal will impact the ability of the construction sector to function normally.
If the government decides that the construction industry does not have a shortage of skills, more will need to be done to help support businesses to attract new talent into the industry. Currently construction is not seen as an attractive career choice, with many parents discouraging their children into the industry due to misconceptions. In addition to the perception issue, there is confusion for many small business owners on how to use the apprenticeship scheme and the value it delivers.
Government needs to provide greater support and information for businesses within construction to help them gain access to the apprenticeship system in order to train up and retain new talent. Sadly, apprenticeships are not a quick fix and with the Immigration Bill coming into effect in 2021 more will need to be done to ensure we continue to have access to the skills we need.
It is still unclear whether the MAC will consider construction to have a shortage of occupations and the CIOB will continue to monitor the progress of the new Immigration Bill to understand how it will affect our members and the wider built environment.
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