Immigration White Paper ‘shows government isn’t listening’

“If the government wants to jeopardise the UK economy for the sake of meeting an arbitrary immigration target, it’s going the right way about it.”

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Released today (19th Dec), the Immigration White Paper outlines the government’s plans and proposals for future legislation.

According to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) the published papers show, however, that the government isn’t listening to the business community as it sets out a post-Brexit immigration system that would devastate the construction industry.

Despite more than two-years of ‘constructive engagement’, CEO of FMB, Brian Berry adds that what has been proposed by Ministers takes on none of the federations feedback.

Further commenting on the papers, Berry adds: “What’s particularly worrying is the government’s obsession with salary thresholds for migrant workers entering the UK.

“The figure of £30,000 was floated in the Migration Advisory Committee report and was met by fierce opposition from almost all sectors.

“It makes no sense to draw meaningless lines in the sand when we should base our immigration policy on what will make our economy strong and productive.

“The White Paper also states categorically that it will make no allowances for so-called low skilled workers.

“This is wrong on two levels – firstly, the definition of low skilled will cover most construction tradespeople and secondly, genuinely low skilled workers, such as labourers, are essential to the safe and smooth running of any construction site.”

In conclusion to the response, Berry adds: “12-month work visas for occupations in short supply during the transition period simply won’t cut it.

“If the idea was supposed to be an olive branch to the business community, it leaves much to be desired.

“The government describes the construction and house building sectors as strategic and central to delivering its own aims.

“However, the plans set out today would make it impossible to meet the government’s housebuilding targets and the world-class infrastructure projects we have in the pipeline will be nothing but a pipedream.”

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