Construction industry Brexit manifesto
On 29 November 2017, seven of the UK’s major construction trade bodies joined forces to publish the Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto. Warning the government not to jump over a Brexit ‘cliff edge’ on the matter of EU workers, the bodies set out their vision of the sector’s responsibilities and requirements in a post-Brexit labour market.
The manifesto calls for a transition period of at least 2 years, followed by a migration system that serves and provides the required skills. The manifesto commits the trade bodies to recruit and retrain more UK workers, but it recognises that this is a slow process and skilled EU construction workers will continue to be needed in the meantime.
The seven trade bodies are:
- Federation of Master Builders.
- Association for Consultancy & Engineering.
- Build UK.
- Civil Engineering Contractors Association.
- Construction Products Association.
- Home Builders Federation.
- National Federation of Builders.
The manifesto makes 12 recommendations to the government and industry:
- Communications campaign to make clear current EU workers will be able to gain settled status.
- Message presented clearly by industry bodies and construction employers.
- Government should state the cut-off date will be the date of the UK’s actual withdrawal.
- Industry should work with CITB to conduct a census and other research.
- Government should agree a transition period of at least two years.
- Government should introduce a transitional regime for EU workers.
- Construction sector should agree realistic achievements in terms of increased training and recruitment of UK workers over the next five years.
- Any future migration visa system should be based on key occupations in short supply rather than arbitrary thresholds.
- Government should ensure the work visas are attractive enough to ensure quotas can actually be met.
- Government should take into account the centrality of self-employment models within the industry.
- Introduce a post-Brexit immigration system that takes into account small and micro firms.
- Create a more flexible regime that can work for small employers and self-employed firms.
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