Finding skilled railway engineers will be suddenly more difficult when the Home Office removes them from its critical skills shortage list next week.
Railway engineers feature on the list, but will be removed on 18 December because the industry has failed to demonstrate that there is a critical shortage in the sector, according to a Home Office spokeswoman.The Home Office runs a list of skills in shortage. Those shortages are deemed to hinder economic growth. Visa applications from skilled recruits outside the European Union have a priority, to help employers plug the skills gap.A 'sector panel' including the Railway Civil Engineers Association (RCEA), Railway Industry Association, Institution of Railway Signalling Engineers, the ICE and Association for Consultancy & Engineering reports to the Home Office on rail skills. 'They have been asked repeatedly over two years for robust, market researched evidence that there is a significant skills shortage. They have failed to deliver it,' said the spokeswoman.A source close to Transport for London said there are real fears that the client will struggle to staff-up for the glut of railway infrastructure work coming in the next decade. Chairman of the RCEA, Dave Barnell warned that there was intense demand for railway engineers from Network Rail and the consulting and contracting sectors. He added he had been unaware of the Home Office's requirement for concrete proof.'This comes as a surprise. You only have to pick up the press to see that railway engineers are in short supply,' he said.