House-building projects at risk due to new immigration policies
As the Brexit deadline looms, the UK housebuilding industry is facing an uphill battle as a result of proposals for new policies that could limit the influx of low-skilled EU workers.
For those who work within the construction industry, it is common knowledge that the workforce is made up from workers originating from a number of different EU states. In London alone, almost a third of the construction workers are from the EU, but new proposals by the government regarding immigration in a post-Brexit UK may bring the industry itself to a stand-still as sold house prices continue to rise.
The proposals, put forward in December, aim to curb the influx of low-skilled workers into the country by allowing only those earning more than £30,000 a year to gain citizenship.
While the government has offered to introduce a 12-month visa to aid those industries where available workers are in short supply, many within the construction industry believe that this is not enough to prevent a massive slowdown in UK housebuilding.
There has, already, been a huge fall in the number of EU migrants coming to the UK since the Brexit referendum in 2016, and accreditation bodies such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors are acknowledging that this has led to major labour shortages that had hampered market growth immensely over the last eight quarters.
“What’s particularly worrying is the government’s obsession with salary thresholds for migrant workers entering the UK. The figure of £30,000 was floated in the Migration Advisory Committee report and was met by fierce opposition from almost all sectors,” said Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders.
“It makes no sense to draw meaningless lines in the sand when we should base our immigration policy on what will make our economy strong and productive.”
The UK is already behind schedule in regard to the Tory government’s pledge to build 300,000 new homes every year as the population continues to grow, and this latest shift in policy could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
A lack of new housing means increased competition between prospective tenants and buyers for residence in those homes that are already built – increasing their value. And while this may seem like great news for those who own already, it can be a huge handicap if they suddenly find themselves needing to sell their house fast for work or because of illness, as fewer prospective buyers will be able to afford them.
The knock-on effects could easily bring the industry to its knees, according to analysts, and with the Brexit deadline less than eight weeks away, fears are beginning to mount.
“Construction businesses need stability and, with 100 days from Brexit, the government seems to be working toward providing the exact opposite.” said Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB.
Are you worried you won’t be able to sell your home? Why not ask National Homebuyers for advice, as we buy any house. Call 08000 443 911 or request a call back to find out how much you could get for your property.