Figures showing a drop in EU net migration are worrying for the construction sector, according to the Federation of Master Builders.
The Office of National Statistics published its The Migration Statistics Quarterly Report for August 2018 yesterday, showing that EU net migration is at its lowest level for six years.
Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, says the data is concerning as 9% of workers in the UK construction industry are from the EU, and in London this proportion rises to one third.
She said: “Despite the fact that we are still operating under the free movement of people, we’re already seeing far fewer EU workers coming to the UK and a greater number leaving our shores.
McMonagle explained that two-thirds of construction SMEs are already struggling to hire bricklayers, and 60% are struggling to hire carpenters and joiners. The drop in migration levels is expected to make this even worse.
She said: “If the government wants its new homes and infrastructure projects built, it needs to do more to back up our industry’s message to all EU workers – they are welcome and they do have a bright future here in the UK.”