Sector - Commercial

Lawyer says losing international workers will damage construction

A lawyer has said that losing international workers after Brexit will ‘hurt’ the construction industry and should be avoided.

Matthew Cole, Employment Advisor at Ipswich-based law Firm Prettys, advised construction firms to keep international staff after Brexit. In the final quarter of last year, figures show that 3.5million foreign workers were employed in the UK with the majority coming from the EU.

He advised the government to provide guidance for companies on how to avoid a skills shortage post-Brexit. Statistics show that 10% of construction workers immigrated to the UK, with the number rising to 35% in the Capital.

Matthew Cole said: “The most important step that an employer can take is to encourage any EU workers to apply for settled status and be proactive in providing information required. Settled status means that the rights of EU citizens living in the UK will stay the same after Brexit.”

“Applicants will need to demonstrate that they have been settled in the UK for at least five years, and so helping them through this process by providing old employment-related documents, such as pay slips and letters of appointment, can be really helpful”

“Training is essential and certainly making the apprenticeship path as easy as possible will help. Many employers are still not using their full apprenticeship levy allocation and the Government could do more to facilitate this”

The law practice also recommended that UK firms close the production gap with the rest of Europe. They encouraged the government to advise businesses on long-term solutions to ensure productivity in the future.

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