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The UK’s exit from the European Union will have immense impact on RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) members, the architecture profession and the built environment sector as reports reveal that migration is vital to UK architecture.
Until the end of the post-Brexit transition, UK architects will continue to have full access to the EU single market whereby they can enjoy tariff-free trade with the EU market under the European Customs Union. After 2020, the government has indicated that it does not intend to remain a full member of the Single Market or Customs Union.
Architecture is renowned for international collaboration and exports innovative creations. RIBA chief executive Alan Vallance argues that “the architect sector thrives on diversity, benefiting from different ways of working, backgrounds and experience.”
The RIBA believes that it is crucial that the UK’s exit from the EU does not compromise built environment quality or sustainability by starting a short-sighted race to the bottom on standards or allowing standards to be eroded through statutory instruments.
A survey has found that 60% of EU architect working in the UK have considered leaving because of Brexit. More than 20% of the 40,000 architects working in the UK are from the EU. The Brexit deal has had a significant impact on recruitment and is indisputably a threat to the success and economic growth of the architect society.
RIBA has asked the government to consider a series of changes to the immigration system, one being for an end to the annual cap on Tier 2 visas for skilled workers.
In December 2018, it was announced by the government that architects who demonstrate an exceptional talent or promise will be granted a special visa to live and work in the UK following Brexit.
From January 2019, architects will be able to apply for Tier 1 visas for £608 which could grant them up to 5 years in the UK.
It is assured that the Tier 1 visas will provide greater flexibility for architects to work, run their own practice or be self-employed in the UK.
In a final attempt to protect the future of the RIBA, the RIBA has called upon the UK Government to set out a long-term plan for investment and funding in housing and infrastructure to ensure that finance remains available after Brexit.
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