Low levels of awareness and engagement with the Points-Based System (PBS) post-Brexit continue to exacerbate existing skills shortages within the sector, according to the latest Migration and Construction report by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Only half of employers surveyed indicated that they were aware of the PBS. Only 7% of employers reported that they have signed up as a licensed sponsor. But there are plans to work closely with industry to make employers more aware of the benefits and how to navigate the system.

Addressing any barriers preventing employers, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) accessing the scheme and benefitting from recent changes to the Shortage Occupation List would help enable employers to more easily recruit migrant workers in high-demand occupations.

This is the sixth report and the first since the end of the pandemic and the introduction of the Points-Based System in January 2021 when the UK formally left the EU.

The report’s other key findings include:

The share of migrant workers in the construction workforce fell to 9.8% in 2021 (latest year data is available for) from 10.2% in 2020 and 10.7% in 2018.

Even in the early stages of recovery from the pandemic, and despite modest growth in output, over half (55%) of employers indicated that they have faced recruitment difficulties over the past two years. Almost a quarter (23%) of firms reported that recruitment had been very difficult. These problems have been greatest for larger firms employing more than 100 people (76% of employers) and in London, South-East and East of England (62%).

The industry needs to deliver on its commitment to grow and invest in its domestic workforce by tackling long-standing weaknesses in how it attracts, retains and develops its workers skills and capability by raising the levels, quality and relevance of training.

However, the Government, Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and industry need to work together to raise employer understanding and awareness of the PBS and to make the system work better for construction to address some of the critical short-term skills needs that industry now faces.

The government has responded to evidence from CITB and CLC of the recruitment pressures on construction employers by widening the range of occupations covered by the Shortage of Occupation List (SOL) in the Spring Budget.

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) points out which jobs are facing shortages and aims to make it easier to hire migrant workers in these occupations. An ongoing consultation into the SOL was launched by the Migration Advisory Committee (an independent body advising on immigration) in March.

Original Article: https://www.citb.co.uk/about-citb/news-events-and-blogs/construction-firms-report-on-post-brexit-migration/