Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is calling on Government to create a temporary visa scheme for construction workers to ease skills shortages in the capital.
Khan is proposing ministers create a Coronavirus Recovery Visa to help sectors like construction that are struggling with shortages of workers.
The visa would offer at least 12 months to work in the UK and be appropriately tailored to allow workers to operate on a self-employed basis.
Khan said: “Tackling London’s housing crisis has always been one of my top priorities since becoming Mayor. We’ve worked tirelessly over the last five years to get London building again, and the construction sector forms a key part of London’s Covid recovery plan.
“However, both our recovery and efforts to deliver the genuinely affordable homes Londoners desperately need could now be put at risk if there isn’t the skilled workforce available to build them.
“The Government must look beyond their current blinkered approach to immigration and recognise the impending crisis that is already enveloping one of our most vital industries.
“Training our own people to take on jobs in the construction sector is an admirable aim and one we’re working hard to meet but in the meantime, we need skilled tradespeople on site now to manage the short-term crisis and build a strong recovery.”
Prior to Brexit, the capital was dependent on migrant building workers with more than half the workforce being from the EU and beyond.
ONS figures show that the number of construction workers in London from the EU fell 54 per cent between April 2017 and April 2020.