11 September 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The FM sector could be seriously affected by changes in immigration policy brought about by Brexit. Herpreet Kaur Grewal reports.
As the government launches a review into post-Brexit skills needs, the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM) has warned that one result of any change in immigration policy is that the FM sector could face a serious deficit in skilled employees.
The organisation welcomed the government's appraisal plans, but points out that in some parts of the industry, up to 24 per cent of the FM workforce comes from the EU.
The government has commissioned an independent advisory non-departmental public body, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), to advise on the British labour market, the economic and social impacts of the UK's exit from the European Union, and on how the UK's immigration system should be aligned with a modern industrial strategy.
Lifelong learning and upskilling
Sofie Hooper, senior policy adviser at BIFM, said: "We welcome the MAC review into the European Economic Area (EEA) migration and the government's approach to develop an evidence-based future migration policy which takes account of businesses' skills needs. The FM industry will be greatly affected by any change in immigration policy for
EEA nationals as currently, in parts of the industry, up to 24 per cent of the workforce comes from the EU.
"While the FM industry has grown exponentially over the past three decades, it now faces a skills shortage due to the UK's demographic changes and a lack of skilled applicants.
"The uncertainty over a new migration policy for EU migrants adds to the challenge. BIFM's members, through their membership of the professional body for the FM industry, are already committed to upskilling abilities and knowledge. The skills gap needs a multi-faceted approach to ensure that the UK's FM industry can deliver its potential of a £20 billion uplift to the UK economy by enabling an effective workplace to the UK's businesses.
"A flexible migration policy needs to be part of the solution, in addition to lifelong learning and upskilling the UK's workforce."
The first MAC call for evidence focuses on EEA migration trends, recruitment practices, training and skills and economic, social and fiscal impacts. The briefing note accompanying the call for evidence provides some preliminary analysis of the UK labour market and other countries' migration systems.
BIFM intends to engage with the immigration debate in several ways. An FM Leaders' Forum will be held to create a position paper representative of the views of the FM industry with a view to sharing this with political stakeholders across Parliament and Whitehall.
Over the next few months BIFM will also engage with its members about the MAC's calls for evidence and it will submit a response to the first call for evidence by 27 October. In anticipation of these consultations, BIFM is undertaking a review of the labour data available on the FM industry.
BIFM members with any questions or otherwise keen to contribute to the BIFM's work on migration are invited to get in touch with Sofie Hooper at [email protected]