Why Worker Compliance Remains Vital Despite Visa Rules Relaxation

Why Worker Compliance Remains Vital Despite Visa Rules Relaxation

As the immigration rules for construction workers are relaxed to cope with the ongoing skills shortage, UK developer Shore Construction highlights the importance of strong compliance checks for all migrant workers.

Despite the construction industry attracting over 170,000 new workers each year, the CITB estimate that over 225,000 additional workers are needed by 2027 to deliver the projected demand. And with acute shortages of bricklayers, plasterers, roofers and carpenters impacting projects already, the Government’s recent decision to relax immigration rules for these roles, brings much needed relief.

However, with increasing numbers of migrant workers entering the workforce, maintaining high compliance standards becomes vitally important. Construction companies already must manage multiple factors to maintain safe and lawful working environments including health and safety, right to work, modern slavery and financial regulation compliance. As the numbers of migrant workers increases, so does the does the complexity that contractors face.

Advocating strong compliance for everyone on a construction site, Shore Construction Managing Director James Hobden says, “Maintaining 100% compliance for construction workers must be the benchmark at all times. The risks for non-compliance are too significant however urgent your need for a particular skillset is.”

With this in mind, Shore Construction shares the key pillars of its compliance strategy as part of the industry-wide effort to ensure high compliance standards.

  1. Setting the Strategy

Compliance processes are frequently seen as an additional cost burden within construction companies. By including compliance within your business strategy and culture, each cost becomes an investment as part of your brand and competitive advantage. 

“When you step back from the processes and checks, we’re playing a crucial role in making sure that our construction sites are safe, that our workers are protected from risks like modern slavery and low pay, and that the supply chain is robust. Legislation aside, these are all things that are simply right to do.”

  1. Cracking the Cultural Code

Culture and reporting lines play a huge role in effective compliance. Aligning compliance and health safety teams and creating direct reporting lines and communication with the board is vital for all employees and contractors.

  1. Powered by Technology

With over 15% of compliance checks failing due to fake or incomplete worker documentation, utilising technology and automation is essential to ensure genuine documentation, complete compliance documentation and accurate processing.

“We see increasingly sophisticated forgeries being used to try to get illegal workers on to our construction sites. Technology screening aligned with human checks is essential to stay ahead.”

  1. It’s a Team Effort

The risks don’t start and end at the site gates; contractors are potentially liable for breaches throughout their supply chain making robust compliance processes for all suppliers essential. Including your supply chain within your process and making sure they have the right skills and processes is vital.

“We create open partnerships with our supply chain to identify and manage risks. Our relationships with sister companies The Shore Group for recruitment and BoostPay for payroll ensure we can manage compliance with complete transparency at every link of the supply chain.”

  1. Measures not Targets

Measuring your compliance performance and reporting the results at board level is vital to make sure you’re on track. Avoid setting any targets that are less than 100% compliance however as the human and financial risks are too great for any non-compliance.

Supporting the industry efforts to solve skills shortages and grow the construction sector, Shore Construction is proud to be at the forefront of compliance assurance by sharing its expertise in this area.

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BDC 309 : Oct 2023