The Construction Confederation has warned firms to check the employment status of workers after John Reid, the home secretary, announced plans to introduce tighter controls on migrant labour.

Reid this week unveiled measures to stem the anticipated flow of Eastern European workers to Britain when Romania and Bulgaria join the EU in January. These include:

  • A 20,000 annual limit on unskilled workers entering the UK, excluding the agriculture and catering industries
  • Fines for employers found illegally employing Bulgarian and Romanian workers
  • On-the-spot fines of up to £1000 for the workers.
A spokesperson for the Construction Confederation said: “The fining system does act as a reminder to employers that the onus is on them to check the status of their workers.

“The confederation hopes the government will take into account situations where employers carry out reasonable checks on a worker’s status, but are duped by false documentation.”

However, the spokesperson added that most workers who come to the UK to work in the industry were skilled workers, so the cap on unskilled labour should not affect the market too much.