The Home Office has announced a further extension to the offshore wind workers concession until 31 October 2022. The concession was first announced in June 2017 and has been routinely extended by the Home Office. Under the terms of the concession foreign national workers are permitted to enter the UK for the purposes of employment on vessels engaged in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in UK territorial waters (i.e. within a 12-mile limit).
However, in extending the concession the Home Office has also announced that this will be the last.
The withdrawal of the concession is bound to be a cause for concern for the renewables sector given its projected growth as a result of ScotWind projects. Only last month, the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) in its Skills Intelligence report predicted that the number of jobs in the sector is expected to increase to almost 100,000 from the current levels of 31,000 by 2030.
Organisations currently relying on the concession to bring workers into the UK will need to take steps to regularise the immigration position of those workers should they wish to continue to employ them beyond 31 October 2022.