CPA Urges the Construction Industry to Prepare for Brexit

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With less than four weeks to go before the UK is due to leave the EU on 29th March 2019, the Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) is urging CPA members and organisations in the wider construction sector to consider contingency planning, to be aware of potential delays in the construction supply chain and to assist and guide EU staff accordingly.

Kevin Minton, Chief Executive of the CPA said: “The prospect of a no deal Brexit remains real and we urge our members to consider contingency planning and risk assessment around the impact this could potentially have. Companies need to be aware of where they fit in the construction supply chains they operate in and a no deal Brexit could mean potential delays in work if supplies being imported from the EU are held up by customs checks. This will, in turn, impact on work schedules and project delivery in both the short and medium term.

“In such a period of uncertainty, open dialogue and communication are absolutely critical at all levels of projects between contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers and clients in order to identify potential delays and issues that might not be immediately obvious. A no deal Brexit might impact on companies in many unexpected ways and only by being open with each other can these issues be identified and overcome,” he continued.

Kevin went on to say that retaining access to skilled EU staff and labour after Brexit is vital for construction.

He continued: “With well documented skills shortages being felt across the construction industry, we cannot ignore the impact leaving the EU may well have on the availability of labour. Companies should take every step to ensure their EU staff are aware of the steps they need to take to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme for both themselves and their families.”

Under the current Withdrawal Agreement, EU staff and their family members who have lived in the UK for at least five years, up to and including 31st December 2020, are able to apply for UK Settled Status. Under the scheme, if they have been here for less than five years, they can apply for Pre-Settled Status until they meet the full criteria. The scheme will open fully by 30thMarch 2019. The deadline for applicants will be 30th June 2021, or if a deal is not agreed between the UK and EU, 31st December 2020.

Companies should assess how many staff are likely to be affected and check they are aware of what they must do to remain in the UK. The Home Office has set up a website outlining the process EU nationals must take and the qualifying criteria needed to apply for the EU settlement scheme – go to

https://www.gov.uk/settled-status-eu-citizens-families for further information.

Companies should make sure EU employees register and receive regular email updates from the Home office at

https://gov.smartwebportal.co.uk/homeoffice/public/webform.asp?id=67&id2=627DF7 

The Department for Exiting the EU has published a policy paper which sets out how the EU Settlement Scheme would operate in the event of no deal Brexit, providing guidance and information for EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals living in the EU. This can be found athttps://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/762222/Policy_paper_on_citizens__rights_in_the_event_of_a_no_deal_Brexit.pdf

 Employees do not have to apply for any of the schemes if they are Irish, they have indefinite leave to enter the UK, or they have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

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