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Construction stunned by immigration snub

Industry leaders have reacted angrily to the government’s Immigration White Paper which they fear could “devastate” construction.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid set out the new policy on Wednesday which has snubbed a long-running construction lobbying campaign.

The new rules will restrict the number of “low-skilled” construction workers coming into the country earning less than £30,000 a year.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders said: “The Government seems hell-bent on ignoring the business community when it comes to its immigration policy, as demonstrated by this disastrous White Paper.

“What’s particularly worrying is the Government’s obsession with salary thresholds for migrant workers entering the UK.

“The figure of £30,000 was floated in the Migration Advisory Committee report and was met by fierce opposition from almost all sectors.

“It makes no sense to draw meaningless lines in the sand when we should base our immigration policy on what will make our economy strong and productive.

“The White Paper also states categorically that it will make no allowances for so-called low skilled workers.

“This is wrong on two levels – firstly, the definition of low skilled will cover most construction tradespeople and secondly, genuinely low skilled workers, such as labourers, are essential to the safe and smooth running of any construction site.”

Home Secretary Javid said: “Today’s proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation.

“We are taking a skills-based approach to ensure we can attract the brightest and best migrants to the UK.

“These measures will boost our economy and benefit the British people.”

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