There has been much debate about the impact of Brexit on a construction industry that was already facing a severe skills shortage even before the referendum in 2016. But latest information – or lack of information – in the proposed Brexit immigration reforms suggests that there are no stated plans to allow EU nationals to take up self-employment in the UK.

This has devastating potential for UK construction, where a large proportion of the workforce is self-employed, many of whom are EU migrants providing vital skills and labour to the industry.

While plans for points based systems and special visa arrangements for skilled EU migrants are proposed by the Government, there is no indication of special arrangements being available for EU migrants who want to set up in the UK construction sector as self-employed.

The recent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on European Economic Area migration fails to consider any reforms for self-employment.

It is estimated that around 41% of UK construction workers are self-employed. Unless special arrangements are put in place, post Brexit any EU national who wants to set themselves up as self-employed in the UK construction sector will have to invest £200,000 in their business, which is a huge barrier to most.

At a time when plans for infrastructure and housing require a strong pool of construction resources the Government needs to ensure that Brexit plans include special arrangements for self-employed migrants working in the sector. If not, then the result will surely be rising costs and delays on major projects which will impact communities across the country.