Last month’s government immigration white paper – ‘skills-based’ with a £30,000 salary threshold and no route for the self-employed – is almost the complete opposite of what construction has been calling for, says Joey Gardiner. So what’s the likely impact going to be and what can the industry do to adapt?
Construction bodies have used a variety of adjectives to describe the government’s long-delayed immigration white paper, finally published in the dog days before the Christmas break. See if you can spot a common theme among them: “concerning”, “unsettling”, “wrong”, “very disruptive”, “nightmare” – oh, and not to forget “crackers”. Yes, it’s fair to say not everyone’s completely happy.
What has made it particularly galling is the fact that the main industry bodies joined together over a year ago to create a Brexit manifesto saying what they needed a post-EU system to look like. Sarah McMonagle, external affairs director at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), which was part of that effort, says: “The white paper has in almost all respects gone in completely the wrong direction.”