A family-run homebuilder with sites across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, which has faced the challenges of labour shortages head on in recent years, has welcomed new plans for skilled migrant workers to support the UK construction industry.
Fairgrove, established in 1995 in Nottingham, is currently building new homes in both Kimberley and Alfreton and has been hit hard by the lack of quality labourers available to work on its sites – which is why MD Steve Midgley has welcomed the Government’s announcement to add construction roles to its ‘Shortage Occupation’ list.
Steve said: “The labour shortage has snowballed due to a combination of factors, from the challenges with workforces in a post-Brexit state, to the pandemic causing work to grind to a halt, as well as other circumstances such as the Ukraine war and cost-of-living crisis adding to tough financial situations for many employers and, critically, workers. As a result, skilled workers have been harder to come by, and home-building targets have been negatively impacted.”
The recent announcement, made by Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt MP in the Spring Budget, saw many roles within the construction industry added to the ‘Shortage Occupation’ list. This was the result of an interim report, published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), with a full report due in June 2023.
Positions to be added to the list include bricklayers and masons, roofers, roof tilers and slaters, carpenters and joiners, plasterers and dryliners.
Steve added: “The impact of these roles being added to the ‘Shortage Occupation’ list is that they are now deemed to be in short supply and are subject to relaxed eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications.
“This effectively unlocks the potential for skilled migrant workers to support the UK construction industry.
“And while the addition of key construction roles to ‘Shortage Occupation’ list won’t directly impact us at Fairgrove immediately, we will feel the benefits of it indirectly.”
Businesses such as homebuilders who wish to benefit from the scheme will need to take up the Government’s offer of a sponsorship licence which will allow them to bring in migrant workers to help ease shortages. Steve said that in time, Fairgrove may consider taking a licence but wanted to review the impact of the initiative for larger homebuilders first.
He added: “It is great to see the construction industry being supported in this way, as we have needed the help of the Government over the last few years, due to all kinds of factors that have caused disruption to work and the missing of house-building targets all over the country.
“We’re currently building new homes across the Midlands, at Swanwick Fields in Derbyshire, as well as the Nine Corners and Brewery Yard developments in Kimberley, Nottinghamshire. As a result, we need a diverse, skilled workforce, that can help us continue to build our properties with the high-quality finish we aim to achieve.
“We are optimistic that this intervention will bring about positive change and allow the construction industry to move forward, after what has been a very difficult few years.”