UK government relaxes visa requirements for migrant bricklayers, roofers and construction workers to come to Britain

Critics of the move questioned why Brits can’t be trained to fill the shortage gaps

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

The U.K. Home Office has added several new occupations to a shortages list. This will make it easier for migrants willing to undertake these jobs to acquire a permit to work in Britain, despite the country already experiencing its highest level of immigration on record.

Foreign bricklayers, roofers, and plasterers are encouraged to apply to work in Britain due to a perceived shortage of British workers who are capable of carrying out these trades.

The jobs, along with carpenters and joiners, have been added to the Shortage Occupation List, a move that provides employers looking to fill such roles to be exempt from certain labor requirements, including advertising the vacancy in Britain for 28 days to encourage U.K.-based applicants to apply before opening up the job to applicants overseas.

The Shortage Occupation List has typically been used previously for skilled roles such as IT professionals, healthcare professionals, and engineers.

Migrants who apply to come to Britain to fulfill these roles also receive several benefits; these include lower visa fees for themselves and their dependents, as well as an exemption from the minimum income threshold when applying to remain in Britain when their work visa expires.

Critics called the move to lower the thresholds for foreign workers in these professions “absurd,” particularly when the U.K. Home Office revealed net migration was at a record high last year, with 606,000 more people arriving in Britain than leaving and 1.2 million newcomers in total.

Harry Cole, the political editor of The Sun newspaper, asked why the government is pursuing a policy of further mass immigration instead of investing more in training Brits to fill the gaps.

A lack of investment in training up Brits in these professions has been flagged by industry experts for some time, seemingly falling upon deaf ears at the Home Office. Geoff Rhodes, president of the Institute of Carpenters, said back in September 2020, “Technical colleges have had no investment for years. Many are falling to bits. It’s a national scandal.”

“This is nuts,” tweeted Marco Longhi, an MP for the governing Conservative Party. It is understood his criticism is not alone, with Harry Cole reporting that the news “is going down very badly with Tory MPs.”

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