Architects demand 'drastic' changes to visa system

The Royal Institute of British Architechs (RIBA), calls for 'drastic' reform of UK immigration post-Brexit to keep flow of skilled international architects which has dropped since Brexit vote.

Architects study a drawing
A "drastic" overhaul of the UK's post-Brexit immigration system is needed if the country's architectural sector is to continue to flourish, government ministers were warned on Thursday.

Brexit leads to a 42 per cent drop in architects arriving from the EU

A report from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) revealed that, since the Brexit referendum in 2016, there had been a 42 per cent drop in the number of architects arriving in the UK from the EU...and this in a profession where foreign nationals comprise a quarter of the workforce, 80 per cent of them from the EU.RIBA, which branded last month's immigration white paper "a disaster for the architecture sector", surveyed more than 600 foreign-born architects working in the UK as part of its research for its latest report, 'Powered by People: Building a Post-Brexit Immigration System for UK Architecture'.

Many foreign architects study then go on to work in UK

The report concluded, "Many architects come to the UK as students or recent graduates, seeking to build their careers in Britain; it is vital that the future immigration system protects this pipeline of skilled talent is vital in a sector where graduate salaries, especially outside of London and in smaller practices, often fall below the £30,000 currently required for a Tier 2 work visa."Just five per cent of Tier 2 visa applications made in the sector were accepted between November 2017 and April 2018; the system is long overdue for reform. A new approach to immigration is also needed, with a 42 per cent drop in new EU architects registering to practise in the UK since 2016 and two-thirds of international architects saying they had considered leaving the UK due to Brexit."

International architects make up one in four of UK architecture workforce

In its survey, RIBA found that 86 per cent of architects considered access to international skills and talent to be vital to the future success of the sector.Alan Vallance, the organisation's chief executive, said, "International architects make up one in four of the UK architecture workforce, and without them the £4.8 billion contribution the sector makes to the economy would be in jeopardy."It is not simply about numbers though, our sector thrives on diversity, benefiting from different ways of working, backgrounds and experience."The government has made it clear it wants UK businesses to expand overseas but ministers must provide the conditions to allow them to do so. Without drastic reform, the UK risks turning inwards and cutting itself off from the world."We are calling on politicians to be open about the benefits of migration to our society, it is vital to the success of not just our businesses, but the places and spaces that architects create for our communities."

Undstry urge to end to cap on Tier 2 visas and Immigration Skills Charge

Calling for a new immigration system to be streamlined and less costly, RIBA urged the government to end the annual cap on Tier 2 visas; introduce regional flexibility in visa minimum salary thresholds; and simplify the application and administration process within the system, including abolishing the Resident Labour Market Test.The organisation also wants to see the abolition of the Immigration Skills Charge for high-skilled roles; the introduction of a two-year, post-study work visa for international graduates; and guarantees that the immigration system would provide workers with the flexibility to work and travel abroad.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.