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RIBA unveils post-Brexit immigration policy to attract 'finest talent'


The RIBA is urging the government to find an agreement over the rights of non-UK EU citizens living in Britain in a policy paper published today 

Among its eight key recommendations for the UK after leaving the EU, the paper, Building a Post-Brexit Immigration System that Works for UK Architecturecalls for a reduction in the cost for companies wanting to become visa sponsors for employees. 

The document builds on the findings from the RIBA’s Global by Design report, published in February, which revealed that more than four fifths of RIBA members think that access to international skilled talent is ‘vital’ to ensuring the success of UK architecture.

Other recommendations in the paper released today are to review the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 visas, and reduce these amounts for recent graduates or those working in small businesses, as well as reintroducing post-study work visas, which would allow international students to progress their experience between Part 1 and 2 study. 

RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said: ‘Our members are clear that Britain’s exit from the EU must not imperil our preeminent position as a magnet for the very finest talent from around the world. UK architecture has benefited enormously from the contribution of European and non-European colleagues, who have enriched architectural practice in this country.

’The RIBA’s proposed immigration system aims to ensure that the UK can continue to embrace and attract people to live and work in the country. We are pressing the government particularly on the urgent need for certainty for our European colleagues currently living in this country. Many of our valued colleagues are drifting away, and there will be an exodus, no doubt, if we impose unreasonable burdens on those who are fully aware of the positive contribution they have been making to our preeminent position.’

In the RIBA’s Brexit Survey, which preceded the Global by Design research, 40 per cent of non-UK EU respondents said that had ‘considered leaving the UK with earnest intent’ following the EU referendum result.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, Derbyshire called on the government to form a ‘united voice’ about Brexit.

The RIBA Building a Post-Brexit Immigration System that Works for UK Architecture paper eight key post-Brexit recommendations to government:

  1. Come to an agreement with the EU over the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK, and UK citizens living in Europe, that includes continued recognition of professional qualifications, at the earliest opportunity
  2. Review the minimum appropriate salary requirements for Tier 2 visas and reduce these requirements for recent graduates or those working for small businesses
  3. Reduce the cost and administration burden on businesses seeking to become a visa sponsor for employees
  4. Reintroduce post-study work visas to allow international architecture students to develop their professional experience between Part 1 and Part 2 study
  5. Secure a transitional relationship with the EU that extends the freedom to study and work in the UK beyond the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019
  6. Include work visa quotas in new trade agreements
  7. Extend mutual recognition of professional qualifications via new trade agreements with priority countries including the USA, Australia and Canada
  8. Implement a system of priority access for business travellers to support architectural practices to do business in overseas markets

Readers' comments (2)

  • MacKenzie Architects

    Nothing wrong with these 8 points, but
    It would be nice if the RIBA could make the same sort of effort making sure home-grown architects were better 'trained' and could all get jobs in the industry. I'm sure 4/5 of of UK architects would agree with that notion as well.

    The idea should be that we create the best architects and win projects across the globe, not retreat and steal foreign architects from somewhere else to work for us. Our future is international.

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    As president of the ACA, the Association of Consultant Architects, I fully support Ben Derbyshire and the RIBA's recommendations. Brian Waters

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