The loss of EU workers could impact some of the biggest projects, according to the RICS

Nearly 200,000 EU construction workers could be lost to the UK after Brexit if the country loses access to the single market, the RICS has warned.

In the event that such individuals cannot work in the UK it could threaten some of the country’s biggest infrastructure and construction projects, it added.

Latest RICS figures showed that 8% of the UK’s construction workers were EU nationals, accounting for some 176,500 people. Nearly a third (30%) of construction professionals surveyed revealed that hiring non-UK workers was important to the success of their businesses.

On Monday this week the government secured its bill to commence the process of leaving the EU.

The RICS said that for Brexit to succeed, continued access to the EU single market should be secured, or alternative plans be put in place “to safeguard the future of the property and construction sectors in the UK”.

The RICS said the UK was already in the grip of a construction skills crisis: “While some overseas professionals such as ballet dancers are regarded as critical by the UK government, and are therefore prioritised during the visa application process, construction professions have not yet been added to the ‘UK Shortage Occupations List’.”

It warned this could “already be placing the UK’s predicted £500bn infrastructure pipeline under threat and must be addressed as a priority”.