Sector - Finance & Legislation
Brexit and the Construction Industry
With free movement of goods and people coming to an end and in less than 4 weeks, the construction industry must come to terms with the reality of UK’s departure with the European Union.
The construction industry has been heavily reliant on foreign labour for skilled and non-skilled workers, which includes a decent proportion of EU,EEA and Swiss nationals that had the freedom to travel for UK in the UK whilst maintaining their residence in the home country. This will no longer be an option from 01 January 2020, as EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals that are not already residing in the UK by 31 December 2020 will be required to satisfy the requirements of the new points system to reside and work in the UK.
So, were fears that the new points system could limit immigration prove to be detrimental for the construction industry?
The new points system appears to have simplified the process of recruitment of overseas skilled workers to meet the demands of the industry. The government has lowered certain requirements for skilled workers and to reduce fear of global investors starting to take their money out of the UK market. Mentioned below are some of the key changes to the new points system.
- The abolishment of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) means that employers are no longer required to advertise the job for 28 days to find a suitable settled worker in the UK. This would help recruitment of specialist workers from overseas and reduce the lengthy immigration process.
- The industry can now benefit from a reduction to the required skill level from RQF level 6 to lower skilled occupations at RQF level 3 allowing business to recruit lower skilled staff not available in the UK labour market.
- A reduction in the minimum annual salary requirement for overseas skilled workers from £30,000 to £25,600 (or going rate for the occupation, whichever is higher) will enable businesses to target a wider market overseas. A migrant may be paid a lower minimum salary of at least £20,480 per year providing they are able to trade points for other attributes to meet the requirements.
The table below shows some of the key occupations in the construction industry and the required salary (going rate) for each occupation.
|Occupation||Job titles||Salary (going rate)|
|Production Managers and directors in construction||· Construction manager
· Director (building construction)
|Construction Project managers||· Contract manager
· Project manager
|Architectural and town planning technicians||· Construction planner||£23,800|
|Construction and building trades not elsewhere specified||· Property developer (building construction)||£23,000|
|Construction and building trades supervisors||· Construction foreman
· Construction supervisor
· Site foreman
|Civil Engineers||· Building engineer
· Site engineer
· Structural engineer
|Town planning officers||· Planning officer||£28,500|
|Chartered surveyors||· Building surveyor
· Chartered surveyor
· Land surveyor
|Building and civil engineering technicians
|· Building services consultant
· Civil engineering technician
· Survey technician
|Inspectors of standards and regulations||· Building inspector||£26,600|
We recommend that businesses in the construction industry apply to the Home Office to become approved sponsors, which will enable them to recruit specialists and skilled workers from abroad. We appreciate that not all businesses recruit workers from overseas; however, you may still be impacted if anyone in the supply chain requires overseas specialist workers.
It can take up to 8 weeks after submission of the application to become an approved sponsor, so time is of the essence given that freedom of movement ends after 31 December 2020.
You will be issued a sponsor licence for 4 years and can request a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) using the Sponsor Management System (SMS) for individuals.
Contributed by Ikram Malik, Business Immigration Law Partner at Aaron & Partners
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