Without migrant workers, Boris Johnson’s promises of new homes and HS2 will remain a fantasy.
The government’s plans to deny visas to low-skilled workers are going to affect many industries, but arguably none more so than the construction sector.
That’s because the building industry has, since the last recession, relied heavily on migrant workers. That downturn meant when construction projects were curtailed and domestic workers left the industry, foreign-born labour was easily accessible once business picked up again, because of the skills shortages that existed in the UK-born workforce. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that EU nationals now comprise a crucial part of the construction workforce, accounting for around 8 per cent of all construction workers in the UK, 28 per cent in London.