‘Brickie visa’ would plug UK skills gap, think tank says

15 May 2017 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Low-skilled workers from the European Union should be granted a temporary ‘brickie visa’ for three years following Brexit in order to plug the UK’s construction skills gap, a think tank has suggested.

According to Migration Watch, the proposed changes could help to ease the transition for UK businesses from relying on EU workers to fill their requirements while taking into account the skills gaps currently being faced by the construction industry.

In a report entitled EU Immigration, Post-Brexit – A Comprehensive Policy, the think tank added that the so-called ‘brickie visa’ would allow empty roles to be filled by EU workers who would otherwise not be qualified to receive a Tier 2-style UK work permit.

Migration Watch revealed that, under the proposed temporary scheme, the work visa would be issued for an initial term of 12 months with the option to extend up to a maximum of three years, with the ultimate aim of encouraging businesses to train local staff to fill roles by the end of the scheme.

In order to implement the scheme, businesses would need to be part of the industries and occupations to be labelled by the Migration Advisory Committee as being eligible for the scheme. Employers would also be required to provide evidence of “genuine attempts” to recruit UK citizens and will be responsible for paying an annual fee.

Commenting on the proposed introduction of the scheme, Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman at Migration Watch UK, stated that there is a “genuine need” for the new visa, which could provide strong financial incentives for employers to train British workers while enabling them to fill skills gaps.

“Training outside the workplace has fallen off a cliff since 2000. Employers must now step up to the mark,” he added.