Anti-immigration pressure group Migration watch has offered the idea of a so called "Brickie visa" to EU builders in an effort to reduce the effects of Brexit on the building sector. The contingency measure it insists is necessary as the UK struggles to produce enough qualified builders to keep the industry buoyant. It would also allow so called "low skill" migrants to remain in the UK after Brexit.
Under the scheme being proposed, employers would pay a fee to sponsor workers if they were not eligible under the current tier 2 visa programme. They also insist that there would be a requirement for employers to prove that they had tried to employ a UK based resident first and that there was indeed a need to bring in a migrant due to a skills shortage. They also hinted at the idea that the Migration advisory committee would be the best placed to choose the sectors that would be most suitable for the new visa.
The UK's decision to leave the European union has caused potential issues for industry as the future of current EU residents has not yet been sorted. Though it is likely that those here already will be granted permanent residence, past March 2019 there appears to be no clearly defined plan as to their fate.
The UK currently has a large dependence on low skill migration from predominantly Eastern Europe. The flexibility and ability to work for lower rates of pay coupled with the pervasive theory that citizens from Eastern Europe are hard working has meant that companies in many cases prefer to employ them. Indeed many UK companies have set up recruitment centres in countries such as Poland to offer the workers there jobs to come to the UK and perform. This guarantee of a job in a new country is surely a very strong incentive to take the risk and move. Though in recent years countries such as Poland have grown exponentially economically. This coupled with the UK leaving the EU may encourage the next generation to stay put. What this means for the UK is unclear, they may have to start looking elsewhere for the next generation of low skilled and hard working staff to kep the economy progressing.
If Migration watch get their wish, then it may just plug the worrying gap that currently exists between those already in the UK, and those who may consider the move in the future. Whilst not perfect in the eyes of many, it may be one of the necessary sticking plasters to at least cover the immediate aftermath of the UK's exit from the trading bloc. What is clear is that currently the UK appears to not have a plan B with regards to a migration policy. This may mean that the country is in limbo once the exit is confirmed.
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