The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published a list of jobs it feels overseas workers could fill to plug the skills shortfall in the UK.
by Rory Butler / March 14, 2023
It recently recommended to the UK Government professions to add to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and the Skilled Worker route.
Its report to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is intended to help firms access the points-based immigration system, making it “easier” for overseas labour to get work in the UK.
However, Construction Products Association economics director, Noble Francis, recently responded to the news online, saying the measure “doesn’t help most of construction” as the shortfall in recent years is largely self-employed persons, and that the majority of the industry is SMEs who “struggle with the cost and bureaucracy” of sponsorships.
“Unfortunately, just adding skilled trades onto the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) doesn’t help most of construction as the 255,000 loss in UK construction workers since 2019 Q1 has been self-employed workers (and note 41% of all UK construction employment is self-employment and 86% of all construction employment is in small and medium-size firms, which often struggle with the cost and bureaucracy of dealing with visa applications) whereas the Shortage Occupation List still requires an employer to pay to sponsor a worker (and deal with the admin),” wrote Mr Francis.
CLC Shortage Occupation List jobs
- bricklayers and masons
- carpenters and joiners
- general labourers
- ground workers
- piling rig operatives
- plant operatives
- plasterers, dry liners and ceiling fixers
- retrofit co-ordinators
- road construction operatives
- roofers, roof tilers and slaters
- scaffolders, stagers and riggers
- steel erectors
- thermal insulators
Building safety managers should also be included in the Skilled Worker route, wrote the CLC.
It recommended a clearing house model and widening the Youth Mobility Scheme to all European Economic Area countries.
“The CLC is committed to building our domestic construction workforce and championing construction as one of the best career choices for new entrants, but the fact is we are still currently facing chronic shortages,” said Mark Reynolds, co-chairman of the CLC and group chairman and CEO of MACE.
“A dynamic immigration system allows us to bridge gaps in workforce need and meet the people requirement for the sector’s pipeline of work. That’s why we are calling for the inclusion of these occupations in the Shortage Occupation List, to help make it a little easier to access the right people, at the right time.”
James M Butcher, director of policy at the National Federation of Builders, added: “Construction faces a vacancy rate higher than the all-industry average, so it is fair to say we are in a worse position than many other industries.
“The occupations we have recommended are based on a solid evidential base for the sector’s need over the next five years.
“If we are successful in getting these occupations listed, we’ll work hard to ensure construction companies know what they need to do to engage with the immigration system, which is why we are also launching new CLC guidance on how to do that.”
The MAC is expected to report on construction shortages shortly.
The full report can be read here.
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