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Make it easier for overseas engineers to work in the UK, demands ACE

More engineering disciplines need to be added to the government’s list of professions suffering from skills shortages, the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) claimed today.

Speaking ahead of discussions with the Border and Immigration Agency today, ACE singled out civil, structural, building services, mechanical and electrical engineering as specialisms in which the UK is lacking personnel and for which work permit regulations should be lowered for engineers from outside the EU.

ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin said: "Until we manage to reverse the trend of decreasing numbers of engineering graduates coming through our own education system we must find an alternative source of high-caliber professionals. Only in this way can we ensure the already acute skills shortages in the engineering sector do not reach crisis proportions."

Ogunshakin added that he accepted that overseas recruitment was only a partial fix and not a long-term solution.

"We understand that this is not the only solution to the problem," he said.

"But it is at least part of the solution and will ensure the short-term viability of consultancy and engineering firms, who base their entire value on the quality of their staff."

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