Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed a new points based immigration system which will “end free movement and reassert control of our borders.”
From January 1 2021 immigrants will have to reach 70 points to work in the UK.
The government has decided not to make any exceptions for “low-skilled” workers which is expected to have a major impact on construction.
Skilled workers are now defined as those earning above £25,600 and who hold qualifications equivalent to at least “A” levels – which cuts out a lot of construction trades.
Construction workers will have to be paid above that level, have a job offer and appropriate skills plus speak English to have any chance of hitting the 70 points needed.
Patel said: “We’re ending free movement, taking back control of our borders and delivering on the people’s priorities by introducing a new UK points-based immigration system, which will bring overall migration numbers down.”
The moves have been condemned by industry leaders.
Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), Brian Berry, said: “If we are to have an infrastructure revolution and build a million new homes over the next five years, we will need to have an immigration system that allows for key construction workers of all skill levels to come to the UK.
“We will need general labourers as much as architects or surveyors. They are a core part of the construction industry and it’s simply unrealistic to assume the domestic workforce will fill this gap in the next nine months.”
Hew Edgar, Head of RICS UK Government Relations & City Strategy, said: “This new points-based system could get in the way of construction companies employing the migrant labourers they need.
“Stopping people who know how to build houses from working here risks ministers not getting the numbers of new homes they want – it’s as plain and simple as that.”