More than one in four construction workers in London are EU nationals
Non-UK EU nationals make up more than a quarter of the construction workforce in London, according to official analysis.
It found 28% of those employed in the industry in the capital are from one of the 27 other EU member states.
Nationally, around one in 14 construction workers are non-UK EU citizens - referred to as EU27 nationals.
The figures were disclosed in a paper published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today.
Estimates from the annual population survey show that an average of 2.2m people worked in the construction industry between 2014 and 2016.
You may also want to watch:
Seven percent of workers in construction in the UK are EU27 nationals, while 3% are non-EU, the report said.
It added: "In London, 28% of construction workers are EU27 nationals and 7% are non-EU nationals; this compares to 13% who are EU27 nationals and 10% non-EU nationals for all other industries in London (excluding construction)."
- 1 These are the 322 Tory MPs who voted against extending free school meals to children
- 2 Question Time: Ex-Tory minister accused of making 'sickening' comment about free schools meals row
- 3 Betty Boothroyd delivers scathing assessment of Boris Johnson's government
- 4 Downing Street withholds praise for business and local authorities offering free meals to hungry children
- 5 Priti Patel bullying inquiry may never be released, hints Boris Johnson's new civil service boss
- 6 House of Lords defies No 10 and votes to heavily defeat Boris Johnson's Brexit bill
- 7 Priti Patel set to hand private firms £28 million in government contracts to deport asylum seekers from UK
- 8 At the upcoming US election, Donald Trump really is toast
- 9 Boris Johnson 'plans to resign' in six months because he can't live on £150k salary
- 10 James O'Brien claims Covid-19 crisis exposed how out of touch Boris Johnson's government is with reality
Of the 165,000 EU27 nationals in construction, it is estimated that just under half (49%) are from the EU8 countries that joined the bloc in 2004 - Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia; 29% are Romanian or Bulgarian; 11% are from 14 longer-term member states; and 10% are Irish nationals.
Workers covered by the report include those working in commercial and home-building, infrastructure construction such as roads, railways and bridges, and specialised activities such as demolition.
The report said the construction workforce is ageing, with a 13% increase in the numbers of workers aged 45 and over between 1991 and 2011.
Non-UK nationals in the industry are younger (18% aged 45 and older) compared with UK nationals (47% aged 45 and above).
Two-fifths (41%) of construction workers were self-employed between 2014 and 2016, while a third of resident non-UK nationals in construction occupations are in "general labour".
Labour MP Gareth Thomas, a champion of the anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain, said: "This data from the ONS should send a shiver down the spine of the government. We face the prospect of new homes, schools, hospitals and colleges not being built. "Housebuilding is heavily reliant on skilled EU labour. Although tens of thousands of UK-born workers have been recruited and trained in recent years, training more workers takes time and would not be enough to meet demand. Brexit could turn a housing crisis into a national disaster.'
The reliance of some sectors on migrant labour has come under close scrutiny after the Brexit vote.
Figures published last month showed the number of EU nationals working in the UK had registered an annual fall for the first time in eight years.
Officials are working to draw up post-Brexit arrangements which incorporate an end to free movement rules, while ensuring that any fall in overseas labour does not damage the economy.
The Home Office has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to report on the impact of exit from the EU on the UK labour market, with the full assessment due by September.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.