Sadiq Khan, the RIBA and the Creative Industries Federation have added their voices to calls for the government to protect recruitment of foreign talent
The AJ recently reported that 95 per cent of Tier 2 visa applications from architect practices are being rejected, figures condemned as ‘terrible’ and damaging to the UK economy by Zaha Hadid Architects chief executive Mouzhan Majidi.
Foster + Partners managing director Matthew Street also criticised the visa restrictions and said the practice was facing a ‘massive issue’ over what the rules will be for recruits from the EU during the Brexit transition period and beyond. The practice has warned it may even move its headquarters out of the country if Brexit goes badly.
Responding to this, a spokesperson for mayor of London Sadiq Khan said firms like ZHA and Fosters were ‘rightly concerned about their ability to attract global talent post-Brexit’.
‘The mayor has said consistently that the Tier 2 annual allocation should be scrapped, or significantly increased,’ the spokesperson added.
’This policy is risking London and the UK’s reputation as a place that welcomes global skills and talent, and is hampering the growth of the capital’s businesses.
’Sadiq has been clear that, post-Brexit, the government must ensure London’s businesses – from banking and architecture to construction and hospitality – are able to continue recruiting the talent they need from Europe and around the world.’
Creative Industries Federation chief executive John Kampfner said: ‘’Foster + Partner’s concerns reflect those of a multitude of businesses in the architecture industry and creative industries as a whole.
‘Time is fast running out before we formally leave the EU. We must remain an open and welcoming place to live and work, which means having a future immigration system that is flexible and fit for purpose for accessing both EU and international talent.’
An RIBA spokesperson said it had previously called on the government to ‘build a post-Brexit immigration system that works for UK architecture’ but was ‘disappointed’ that the government had still not brought forward plans.
‘We continue to call for the government to bring these plans forward as soon as possible,’ the spokesperson added. ’Being a magnet for the best international talent is central to UK architecture’s success and it’s important this is not imperilled by Britain’s exit from the EU. Four in five RIBA members have identified this as a top priority.
‘It’s clear that the cost and administrative burden associated with the current Tier 2 visa system is a barrier to practices seeking to recruit the best architectural talent, and extending the requirement for a visa to EU nationals would not be sustainable.’
The spokesperson added that the government also needed to reassure EU citizens living and working in the UK of their value to the country and their rights.
Employers’ growing concern over the direction of Brexit negotiations was underlined last night when the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) released a rare joint statement with their continental counterparts calling on the UK government and the European Union to make ‘measureable progress’.
British and EU leaders are due to attend a European Council meeting later this week.