EU construction workers urged to stay in UK
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has released research that indicates that EU workers are considered to be important to construction firms and that they rely on them to expand their businesses. The news comes as the countdown to Brexit in 2019 begins.
The research showed that 94% of those firms questioned would consider EU workers to be good or very good, while 85% said that the workers were important in their expansion plans. 76% stated that if EU workers returned to their country of origin, it would have a detrimental effect on the health of their business.
Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the FMB has said that with Brexit just one year away, their research shows that the UK construction industry values its EU workers. He points out that currently, around 9% of all construction workers are from EU countries and in London, this figure rises to one third. Retaining these workers is critical.
Berry has called on the government to convince EU workers that they are welcome. He says that the recent news that EU workers who have lived in the UK for five years will be able to settle is good news, but that this has not been well communicated.
The government released its Migration Advisory Committee Interim update this week which sets out the concerns that the construction industry has highlighted. The industry is now asking for a more detailed plan to help with the current skills shortage given that migrant workers often work for small firms that may not be in a position to sponsor them.