The RIBA has branded a key post-Brexit migration policy report, which includes a minimum salary requirement for those seeking to work in the UK, as ‘extremely worrying’ for the architecture sector
It said the Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendation to end free movement into the UK from the EU would lead to a decrease in design skill levels and an increase in red tape.
The committee’s government-commissioned report, published this week, said there were no ‘compelling reasons’ for special treatment of European workers.
Individuals coming from the European Economic Area through the Tier 2 (general) route should only be granted UK work visas for jobs paying at least £30,000 per year, and the visas should cost employers £1,000 each, the report said.
RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance warned there would be ‘profound implications for architecture’ if the government accepted the report’s recommendations.
‘One in five architects working in the UK is from the EU and it is crucial to create a post-Brexit immigration system that helps protect the workforce and addresses long-standing problems,’ he said.
‘It is disappointing that the committee has recommended introducing a £1,000 immigration skills charge to employ EU nationals and that it has not moved on the onerous salary threshold. Both of these measures will hit smaller practices the hardest.
‘RIBA’s research shows that the current administrative burden on people and practices is unacceptable – a situation where that gets worse is extremely worrying.’
The institute said it would shortly publish new research and further recommendations for a post-Brexit immigration system that works for architecture.
Intra-company transfer rules, which allow businesses to send people to the UK from overseas branches, would be unaffected under the report’s proposals.
Committee chair Alan Manning said: ‘There is no way to change the migration system without creating winners and losers. But we believe the UK should focus on enabling higher-skilled migration coupled with a more restrictive policy on lower-skilled migration in the design of its post-Brexit system.’
RIBA president Ben Derbyshire last month said the government’s back-up plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit had fuelled fears about the risks to the architecture profession.
Architects have this week raised fears that a loss of diversity will lead to ‘boring conversations and dull design’ after the ARB recorded a 42 per cent fall in registrations from non-British EU architects since the Brexit vote.