Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building
CM NEWSLETTER

UK considering £1,000 levy on skilled EU workers post-Brexit

The UK government is considering imposing a £1,000-a-year levy ($1,212) on each skilled European Union worker hired by British companies in the wake of Brexit, a move that would affect a construction industry strained by a skills shortage.

Home Office minister Robert Goodwill told a House of Lords subcommittee that the “immigration skills levy” could be introduced for EU migrants and would “be helpful to British workers who feel they are overlooked” in favour of migrants, newspaper The Guardian reported 11 January.

It has been estimated that nearly 12% of the UK’s 2.1 million construction workers come from abroad, mainly from the EU.

Goodwill told the Lords subcommittee that restrictions on employers hiring labour from outside Europe, including a levy, would be applied to recruitment from the EU after Britain leaves.

“In April this year we are … bringing in the immigration skills charge for non-EEA skilled workers. If you want to recruit an Indian computer programmer on a four-year contract on top of the existing visa charges and the resident labour market test there will be a fee of £1,000 per year,” Goodwill said, reports The Guardian.

“So for a four-year contract that employer will need to pay a £4,000 immigration skills charge. That is something that currently applies to non-EU and it has been suggested to us that could be applied to EU.”

Goodwill said an apprenticeship levy would be introduced this year to help the government meet its commitment to train more than 3 million more apprentices before the 2020 general election.

The minister invited the peers to “seriously consider” including the immigration skills charge for EU skilled migrants within their inquiry report on the matter.

“It would be helpful to the British economy and to British workers who feel they are overlooked because of other people coming into the country getting jobs they would themselves like to get,” he said.

A number of prominent firms in the UK construction industry expressed concern about the impact of Brexit before the 23rd June referendum.

Engineer Mott MacDonald’s chairman, Keith Howells, told The Guardian in May: “We would face quite a significant skills shortage if we opt out [of the EU]. We employ quite a number of EU nationals. A lot of young people have come here from Greece, Spain and Italy, got masters degrees and put themselves on the local market. What’s the impact going to be on them? We’re all in the dark.”

Tony Pidgley, chairman of luxury property developer Berkeley, said that about half of its 14,000 subcontractors come from eastern Europe, The Guardian reported.

Read more here.

Image: Nearly 12% of the UK’s 2.1 million construction workers come from abroad, mainly from the EU (Michael Spring/Dreamstime)

Comments

Goodwill is misguided even to consider ”including an immigration skills charge for EU skilled migrants".

It would be unhelpful to the British economy because of the general skills shortage. British workers who feel they are overlooked because of other people coming into the country getting jobs they would themselves like to get should apply themselves.

What about the EU workers who are already here? Many have made their permanent homes here. They have invested a lot of time and money into this country. They must feel very unappreciated and disenfranchised. Many will leave. What then? Who will do the jobs no-one else wants to do?

  • 13th Jan 2017, at 02:03 PM
  • Ian Newnham ACIOB

Leave a comment

News

27 April 2017 How's that! New stand set to wow crowds this summer at Lord's

27 April 2017 A new look for Construction Manager

27 April 2017 Heathrow boss reveals major offsite plans

27 April 2017 H&S inspectors down by a quarter since 2010

27 April 2017 Bouygues to trial trailblazing 3D technology

25 April 2017 The solution: Morgan Sindall goes round the bend in Slough

25 April 2017 In pictures: Crossrail's striking station ceilings

25 April 2017 Emoji are a sign of the times on Dutch building

25 April 2017 O'Rourke appoints first independent chairman

25 April 2017 Multiplex on hiring spree after bumper 2016

25 April 2017 Contractor fined for Francis Crick Institute fatality

25 April 2017 New housing group to build 1,200 homes a year

25 April 2017 HSE consults on independent FFI dispute process

24 April 2017 New CIOB MD seeks to strengthen links with grass roots

24 April 2017 Schools paying thousands for work under PFI deal

24 April 2017 Skanska races to develop concrete robots

24 April 2017 Pair fined £66k each for roof safety breaches

24 April 2017 SNC-Lavalin agrees £2bn Atkins takeover

20 April 2017 Pay strike threatens Hinkley point construction

20 April 2017 CITB to launch offsite training courses