London Mayor Sadiq Khan has is proposing that ministers should create a Coronavirus Recovery Visa, a temporary visa scheme for construction workers to handle the double impact of Brexit and the pandemic on the building industry.
Mayor believes that scheme will help sectors struggling with shortages of workers, including construction. He has also called for a regional shortage occupation list that will allow London and other cities to attract and retain staff in sectors with acute staff shortages.
The mayor said that before Brexit, the capital was dependent on migrant building workers, with more than half the workforce being from the EU and beyond. He also added that as per the official figures, in the three years to April 2020, the number of construction workers in the capital from the EU fell 54 per cent.
Mr Khan said: “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.”