Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

REC calls for government to go further on Shortage Occupations List

Responding to suggestions that Ministers will ease restrictions for construction sector, Shazia Ejaz, REC Director Campaign, said:

“We would welcome any steps forward to ease labour shortages in the UK by making it easier for employers to hire from abroad. Not doing so holds our economy back on much-needed growth, innovation and productivity. Ideally we would like government to commit to reviewing and updating the Shortage Occupations List every six months to make the immigration system more responsive to business needs. We need this urgently to help re-balance our labour market which saw new job ads hit a 14-month high last month.

“A buoyant construction sector with enough labour is vital to underpin our economy and minimise economic decline, let alone ensure the government’s housing target can be met. Our latest Report on Jobs data shows a second successive monthly rise in vacancies for permanent construction roles during February, with the rate of growth the sharpest and the fastest since last August. And temporary vacancies for construction roles increased for the 32nd consecutive month.

“With a 10% surge in demand for staff across the economy, and the labour market restricted by shortages, we could see a 1.2% fall in expected GDP and productivity by 2027 – costing the economy up to £39 billion every year. This figure is just short of building two whole Elizabeth Lines. More immigration isn’t the silver bullet but it’s definitely part of the mix on addressing our crippling labour shortages.”