Shaskpeare Martineau

GUEST ARTICLE: Business immigration – EU workers are the foundation of UK construction

  • 7 May 2019

This article comes from Tijen Ahmet, legal director and business immigration specialist at law firm, Shakespeare Martineau – she discusses the importance on employees who come from the European Union for UK business.

Immigration has been one of the central discussion points of the Brexit process so far, with many employers across sectors faced with a drastically altered employment landscape. Action needs to be taken, but it appears that many are lagging behind.

Recent research by law firm, Shakespeare Martineau, has shown that one in three businesses has experienced a decrease in the flow of EU migrants choosing to find employment in the UK, since the triggering of Article 50.

This has only gone to highlight the UK’s reliance on utilising EU talent across the business world. On top of this, of the companies profiled, including those in the worlds of real estate and construction, 26% have recruited fewer EU workers since March 2017. With ambitious construction projects being undertaken across the country, a lack of available workers could prove highly detrimental to the UK’s development trajectory.

Another recent survey, undertaken by Biosite, also revealed that 27% of companies had a site workforce made up of more than half non-British EU migrants, with 71% of construction companies saying they would struggle to operate without EU workers – there is a sense of urgency surrounding seeking new sources of workers and retaining existing talent.

This picture shows that it is crucial that employers in the construction sector are aware of the options available to them for sourcing and protecting talent.

Whilst strategies are in place to allow EU migrants to safeguard their rights to live and work in the UK, employers must adopt a proactive attitude going forward, especially in terms of tapping into alternative pools of labour.

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