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Think Tank: How concerned are you about the effect on FM of the government’s immigration proposals?

How will the industry fare without available overseas labour? © Shutterstock

27 February 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal


The facilities management industry has expressed concern at the government’s changes to the immigration system, saying it could lead to a serious shortage of labour for sectors like cleaning.


The British Cleaning Council (BCC) said the proposals would “strangle our industry by cutting off easy access to the lower-skilled, lower-paid, overseas workers we rely on”.


This could have a knock-on effect on health and safety because of lower hygiene standards and the environment, because of the role of street cleaning, waste and recycling. 


As a result, cleaning businesses could shrink or close because of this labour shortage – even going so far as adversely affecting the UK economy and stalling growth.


Other sectors that come under the FM umbrella, such as hospitality and security, are also likely to be affected.


But others say the new rules will mean service providers can no longer exploit foreign labour and so those performing lower-skilled roles would have to be paid a good wage. 


Another option is to invest in underused parts of the nation's own existing potential labour supply. The ONS estimates there are 800,000 young people aged 16 to 24 currently not in employment, education or training (NEET). This represents the equivalent of several years’ worth of immigration.


So this month we ask you if these new immigration system proposals are a call to action to improve the sector or will they damage its growth?


• Yes, this is a good thing.


• No, this is not a good thing at all.


• It is difficult to say yet.


Complete the survey here.


Please email [email protected] with any longer comments.