The UK construction industry is urging the government to keep workers from EU member states in the country. The call comes after a new study finds that companies currently employing EU workers can not cope without them and think they are good employees. The survey among managers of small and medium-sized construction enterprises found that 94% of companies defined the quality of their EU workers as good or very good.
About 85% of construction managers, who hired workers from EU countries say they are important and allow their businesses to keep and expand. The survey also found that 76% of companies believe that if any of their EU employees return to their homeland now or after Brexit, this will negatively affect the stability of their business.
“One year before Brexit, the survey shows how much the British construction industry values EU employees. The British construction sector relies more on the rest of Europe’s migrant workers, and currently 9% of our construction workers are from the EU”, said the CEO of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Brian Berry. “Considering the acute shortage of skilled workers we already feel, the retention of these workers is very important for the business. Our study sends a strong and positive message from the construction industry to its EU employees. We call on the government to intervene and help us convince Union workers that they are needed and very welcome”, added he.
The British ministers have recently announced that foreigners who have lived in the UK for five years or have arrived from an EU Member State during the transitional period will be able to apply for residence. Brian Berry described this as a major step in the right direction, but warned that workers were not well informed about it.
“We already see that EU workers are returning home for financial reasons or simply because they do not feel welcome, so time is essential. Government and industry must do their utmost to send positive messages to our vital and highly valued EU officials”, said Brian Berry.