Migration Watch UK has called on the government to introduce a ‘brickie visa’ to help plug the skills gaps within the building industry as Brexit begins to reduce the number of EU workers entering the UK.
According to a report published by the independent organisation, Britain is likely to be in dire need of bricklayers and plumbers by 2019, with many EU workers likely to struggle to obtain the Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence and the Tier 2 work permit required to work in Britain.
In order to address this issue, Migration Watch has suggested the government create a temporary annual visa that would allow employers to hire EU workers if they pay a fee and provide proof that they have attempted to hire within Britain.
This visa could also be issued to EU nationals if they’re found to be ineligible for a Tier 2 work permit or if a job vacancy cannot be filled by an UK citizen or EU migrant on a Tier 5 youth mobility visa.
While working under this new UK work permit, Migration Watch suggested, workers would not be eligible for any work benefits, tax credits or housing benefits, and may possibly be prevented from settling in Britain.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent organisation that advises the government, would then be responsible for deciding which industries would be able to use the visa to fill their skills gaps.
Commenting on the announcement, the vice chairman of Migration Watch UK, Alp Mehmet said: “The ‘brickie visa’ would meet a genuine need for a few years, but with strong financial incentives for employers to train British workers. Training outside the workplace has dipped dramatically since 2000. Employers must now step up to the mark.”