CIVIL ENGINEERING disciplines have been officially listed as a skills shortage by the UK government.
The move will allow UK consultants and contractors to employ non-European Union engineers more easily.
Previously, when UK civils firms wished to employ non-EU staff, they had to prove that the position could not be filled by an EU engineer, and show that they had suitably advertised the position.
This led to increased advertising costs for employers. Filling posts was also proving to be very time consuming as firms advertised for staff they knew were not available.
Following pressure from organisations such as the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE) and recruitment agency Anders Elite, the Home Office has relaxed entry for non-EU engineers in the rail sector, structural, bridge transportation and traffic engineers.
The move follows extensive assessment by the Home Office engineering sector panel, which included representatives from the ICE, the ACE and from the industry.
UK consultant Scott Wilson head of personnel Alan Morton welcomed the decision. 'Many consultants have been forced to turn work away because of not being able to staff projects. The decision will enable us to bring in skills from overseas speedily, ' he said.
Anders Elite Bristol manager Bridget Ingram added: 'Historically, candidates who have the right experience match for a client have not been made an offer due to the complications behind processing a visa application. Now, this deterrent has been lifted and it will allow a higher quality candidate flow for our clients.'
The increasing severity of the construction industry skills shortage in the UK has been confirmed by the Construction Industry Training Board, which predicts that 380,000 new recruits will be required over the next five years to manage staff turnover and increased work.
Of 76,000 new recruits needed annually, 65,000 are just to replace those leaving the industry.