Call for transitional arrangement for immigrant workers

Brexit could prove “disastrous” for construction unless transitional arrangements allow the industry to draw on EU workers while it skills up a domestic workforce, a group of MPs has warned.

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Excellence in the Built Environment warned that Britain leaving the EU could have a dire effect on delivery of new homes and infrastructure, in a new report, Building on Brexit.

The study, sponsored by the Construction Industry Council, sets out a 12-point plan to deal with the impact of Brexit on skills and for modernising the construction industry, including: government to ensure existing EU migrant workers are able to remain in the UK and then put in place transitional arrangements for “a period of time so that access to foreign workers does not fall off a cliff”; merging the apprenticeship levy and the CITB into one, as the current system is “unviable and confusing”, with the money ring-fenced for the built environment and forming a single body to provide strategic oversight on training and skills and attract new talent across the built environment industry.

Oliver Colvile, chairman of the MPs group, said: “Brexit presents huge risks to the UK construction sector. It is hard to overstate the importance of locking in construction to the heart of the industrial strategy and taking a proactive and comprehensive approach to the challenges facing the construction sector in mitigating the risks.”