The UK government has announced that it will be adding five construction sector occupations to its list of eligible roles for visas, in a move that has been welcomed by the construction industry. The announcement, made during the Budget in March 2023, sees bricklayers and masons, roofers, roof tilers and slaters, carpenters and joiners, other construction and building trades, and plasterers added to the list of roles eligible for visas.
A boost for the construction industry
For the construction industry, this could mean a much-needed boost in the available labour force. The industry has struggled for a number of years now with a shortage of skilled workers, particularly in the areas of engineering, design, and project management. With the easing of visa restrictions, it is hoped that more foreign workers with the necessary skills and expertise will be able to come to the UK and contribute to the construction industry.
This move should also help to alleviate some of the pressure on the construction industry caused end of freedom of movement after Brexit. Many in the industry have been struggling to navigate the complex new regulations and restrictions that have been introduced since the UK's exit from the EU. With more foreign workers available to fill key roles, the industry may find it easier to adapt to these changes and continue to operate effectively in the UK market.
Not a silver bullet
However, it is important to note that the easing of visa restrictions is not a single solution to the challenges facing the construction industry. There are still numerous other issues that need to be addressed in order to ensure the long-term health, innovation and growth of our sector.
Importance of training and development
There is a continued demand and need for increased investment in skills training and development within the industry. While the easing of visa restrictions may help to address short-term labour shortages (dependent, of course, on Visa processing times!), it is important to ensure that the UK has a strong pipeline of skilled workers for the future. This means investing in training and apprenticeships to ensure that young people are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the industry. We at Link365 are passionate about upskilling and developing our teams and those entering the industry.
Collaboration and innovation within the industry are really moving forward, and positive to see. The construction sector has traditionally been seen as slow to adopt new technologies and approaches, and this has led to inefficiencies and delays in many projects. To remain competitive in the global market, the UK construction industry must be willing to continue to embrace new approaches and technologies and to work collaboratively with partners across the sector.
While the additional construction roles added to the visa list is a positive development for the UK construction industry, it is just one step in a much larger journey. To ensure the long-term health and success of the sector, there must be a continued focus on investment in skills, innovation, and collaboration. With these elements in place, the UK construction industry can continue to thrive and contribute to the growth and development of the wider economy.