UK Construction Industry Facing Labor Shortages

The prevalence of the construction industry in the UK is apparent in every aspect of British culture; no matter what town or city you may drive through, there is always some kind of work being done. From roadwork to the erection of new buildings, ongoing projects are in abundance, and this has resulted in a staggering £117 billion in revenue raised by the construction sector in 2018 – a total of 6 percent of UK-based revenue.

Given the above statistics, it is safe to say that the UK Building and Construction industry is one with high growth potential. However, the recent exodus of EU workers from the UK can mean an acute shortage of laborers, particularly in certain specialist trades, and a looming crisis ahead. Indeed, many industry associations and construction companies are sending out dire warnings that unless urgent steps are taken, projects might begin to slow or even cease altogether.

At the same time, recent industry demands such as the need to retrofit buildings in order to meet new sustainability targets, as well as growing pressure to begin large infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail systems, have all led to an increase in demand for workers across the UK. These demands are not being met by the current labor levels, and posts in such specialty areas as rig and plant operators, bricklayers, and carpenters are in urgent need to be filled.

The Skilled Workers Visa could be considered a key solution to this dearth of labor. Recent amendments to the program have reduced the overall skills threshold, thereby opening up a wide range of construction-related jobs that are now eligible for sponsorship. This is a particularly popular program with Filipino nationals, who can now apply for a range of construction-related occupations such as carpenters, welders, electricians, foremen, supervisors, and planners, under an approved employer.

Filipino workers will need a UK visa as well as a local work permit, a simple procedure that allows them to only work for the employer who hired them, as well as a working knowledge of the English language.

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