While it is possible for employers to sponsor self-employed workers for a ‘Skilled Workers Visa’ this is expensive, and complying with a sponsor’s duties is very difficult, if not impossible, when the workers are self-employed.
From 1 July 2021 construction companies will only be able to employ sub-contractors currently working in the UK who have ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled status’ under the EU Settlement Scheme. Applications must be made before 30 June 2021.
Workers who have the ‘pre-settled’ status will be able to continue to work in the UK for the following five years. However, those who choose not to apply – or miss the deadline – will not be able to work in the UK from July.
Having dealt with this immediate issue construction companies and developers must focus on where their workforce of the future will be coming from and what skills do, they need.
The increase in unemployment in the UK creates a huge opportunity for recruitment of a UK workforce which can be trained-up, but there needs to be a co-ordinated approach to the training, with investment from the Government, training colleges and employers.
It is important that sufficient funds flow quickly to colleges so they can design courses, recruit tutors with the right skills and deliver courses that match training for apprentices to the skills required on a modern construction site.