Institute proposes post-Brexit immigration system for architecture

The RIBA has drawn up proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system designed to stop an exodus of talented architectural staff.

President Ben Derbyshire said measures such as urgently clarifying EU architects’ status and reintroducing post-study work visas were essential if Britain is to retain its reputation for world-leading design.

RIBA 66 Portland Place

Source: Philip Vile

RIBA 66 Portland Place

Without these steps there would be “an exodus, no doubt”, he said.

The policy paper, Building a post-Brexit immigration system that works for UK architecture, makes eight key recommendations to government.

Derbyshire said: “Our members are clear that Britain’s exit from the EU must not imperil our pre-eminent position as a magnet for the very finest talent from around the world. UK architecture has benefitted enormously from the contribution of European and non-European colleagues, who have enriched architectural practice in this country.

“The RIBA’s proposed immigration system aims to ensure that the UK can continue to embrace and attract people to live and work in the country. We are pressing the Government particularly on the urgent need for certainty for our European colleagues currently living in country. Many of our valued colleagues are drifting away, and there will be an exodus, no doubt, if we impose unreasonable burdens on those who are fully aware of the positive contribution they have been making to our pre-eminent position.

“The RIBA will continue to make the case for a Brexit that works for our profession and our built environment, from securing access to the talent and investment we need to survive to opening up the new trade opportunities that will support architects to thrive.”

RIBA’s 8 recommendations to government

1. Come to an agreement with the EU over the rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK, and UK citizens living in Europe, that includes continued recognition of professional qualifications, at the earliest opportunity

2. Review the minimum appropriate salary requirements for tier 2 visas and reduce these requirements for recent graduates or those working for small businesses

3. Reduce the cost and administration burden on businesses seeking to become a visa sponsor for employees

4. Re-introduce post-study work visas to allow international architecture students to develop their professional experience between Part 1 and Part 2 study

5. Secure a transitional relationship with the EU that extends the freedom to study and work in the UK beyond the UK’s exit from the EU in 2019

6. Include work visa quotas in new trade agreements

7. Extend mutual recognition of professional qualifications via new trade agreements with priority countries including the USA, Australia and Canada

8. Implement a system of priority access for business travellers to support architectural practices to do business in overseas markets

Source: RIBA Building a post-Brexit immigration system that works for UK architecture paper

The policy paper follows the RIBA’s Global by Design report from February which revealed that more than 80% of RIBA members identified access of skilled talent from across the world as vital to the future success of UK architecture.

As many as 40% of non-UK EU respondents to the RIBA’s Brexit Survey said they had “considered leaving the UK with earnest intent” following the EU referendum result.