GUEST ARTICLE: International migrant demand for UK-based jobs increases in construction sector

  • 11 Mar 2019

Research by GK Strategy and onefourzero has shown general interest in British jobs has fallen for a third year in a row, as Brexit continues to put off jobseekers, but the construction sector bucks this trend.

The government’s plans to introduce a tighter immigration policy after Brexit is already having an impact on demand for British jobs among foreign workers according to a new report out today.

GK Strategy and onefourzero found that international demand for British jobs continued to decline throughout 2018. A slight increase in demand from India was offset by the rest of the world showing less interest in the UK as a migration destination.

However, in the construction sector, migrant demand to fill vacancies bucked the trend and actually was increasing, particularly from EU countries. However, it is still nowhere near previous pre-Brexit-referendum levels.

Across the UK, there are 2.2 million people employed either directly or indirectly by the construction industry. Around 10% of this workforce is made up of migrants – 7% from the EU and 3% are non-EU.

Jamie Cater, GK Strategy’s Head of Policy, commented: “Employers of all sizes who depend on recruiting workers at all levels from overseas should be engaging proactively with decision-makers before, during and after the legislative process to shape and influence the trajectory of policy.”

GK Strategy and onefourzero also looked at sentiment towards migration. They found that negative online sentiment towards immigrants has fallen by 15% between 2017 and 2018.

It seems unlikely though that a slight change in public opinion expressed online will have significant impact on migrants’ decision on coming to the UK.

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