The Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) has followed the example of the RICS by petitioning the Home Office to relax work permit laws.

Paul Davies, chairman of the ACA, was spurred to take action when he lost two Russian designers who had won a competition. “The winners came back to England with us on a work experience placement and it was partially because of them that we then won a major project in St Petersburg. When their visas ran out we applied to extend then and were refused. Just like that we lost all continuity with Russia.”

Davies has since gathered more case studies and has received backing from organisations including Association of Consulting engineers, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the RIBA. He said: “Most visas can be just a year. But when you’re working on major projects, a year isn’t long enough.”