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BIFM raises future migration labour access concerns

06-12-17 15:56 BIFM

The British Institute of Facilities Management recently held a Leaders’ Forum on migration, in light of the existing skills gap across the FM sector, which have been managed in part by access to European Economic Area nationals. In light of Brexit, members discussed the impact on the sector of reduced access to a flexible labour market.

The outcome of this Leaders’ Forum was a position paper outlining the context, profiles and trends and making several recommendations for a future UK migration policy.  The paper also states how wider policies should support the skills and productivity agenda.  The position paper was submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee’s consultation and it was also submitted to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee Inquiry on Immigration Policy.

BIFM is concerned about the ending of Free Movement of People, especially against the backdrop of the skills gap the FM industry is currently facing.

The UK’s FM industry has long been a global leader in its field. While the sector has grown exponentially over the last three decades, the FM industry skills gap has been caused by demographic change and a lack of applicants considered to have the right aptitude and motivation.

The position paper stresses that BIFM members already invest in training and other methods to upskill their workforce, however uncertainty over a new immigration policy adds to the challenges of recruitment.

Without up to 34% of its workforce and access to a flexible future labour market, the FM sector will find it challenging to deliver its contributions to around 7% of GDP. On the basis of qualitative evidence, BIFM considers that the loss of access to the EEA labour market threatens the global leader position which the sector has worked hard for and will widen even further the skills gap the FM sector already has to manage.

In its response to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee inquiry, BIFM calls upon the Government to work with the FM sector to ensure ongoing access to the type of skilled labour it needs. In the short term, this means the immediate guarantee of the right to remain for EEA nationals, who are valued members of our society. In the longer term, this means the development of a flexible system of migration that continues to allow access to the appropriate levels of labour from the EU and beyond.

Linda Hausmanis, BIFM CEO commented: “We are eager to represent BIFM members and the wider FM industry throughout Brexit developments, engaging with Government to present evidence where appropriate.

“BIFM believes that any new migration system the Government seeks to introduce should allow for an implementation period of five years, starting only once the new system is known. We also call upon the Government to work in partnership with the FM sector to implement cross-departmental policies which support the wider skills and productivity agenda, some of which should be fully embedded in the Industrial Strategy.”

This is just one aspect of BIFM’s response on the issue of migration, with further and more detailed evidence to form part of wider communications on the subject.

BIFM consulted a range of stakeholders in its development of the positioning paper, which can be accessed online here.

BIFM encourages member engagement on this issue and comments or feedback should be directed to policy@bifm.org.uk

 

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