Sadiq Khan: London mayor calls for temporary visa scheme for construction workers - EVENING STANDARD
JANUARY 13, 2022
The Government is being urged to create a temporary visa scheme for construction workers to tackle the double impact of Brexit and the pandemic on the building industry.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is proposing that ministers create a Coronavirus Recovery Visa of at least a year, to help sectors struggling with shortages of workers, including construction.
The mayor is also calling for a regional shortage occupation list that allows London and other cities to attract and retain staff in sectors with acute staff shortages.
Before Brexit, the capital was dependent on migrant building workers, with more than half the workforce being from the EU and beyond, said the mayor.
He added that official figures show the number of construction workers in the capital from the EU fell 54% in the three years to April 2020.
Mr Khan said: “Tackling London’s housing crisis has always been one of my top priorities since becoming mayor.
“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last five years to get London building again, and the construction sector forms a key part of London’s Covid recovery plan.
“However, both our recovery and efforts to deliver the genuinely affordable homes Londoners desperately need could now be put at risk if there isn’t the skilled workforce available to build them.
“The Government must look beyond their current blinkered approach to immigration and recognise the impending crisis that is already enveloping one of our most vital industries.
“Training our own people to take on jobs in the construction sector is an admirable aim and one we’re working hard to meet, but in the meantime we need skilled tradespeople on site now to manage the short-term crisis and build a strong recovery.”