RMT criticises Home Office over concession over immigration rules affecting seafarers

RMT criticises Home Office over concession over immigration rules affecting seafarers

8 November 2022

RMT Press Office:

The RMT and Nautilus have jointly written to Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick calling on him to scrap a concession allows companies operating offshore wind farms to ignore normal immigration processes and bring in workers from abroad, often on lower wages and worse conditions.

The Offshore Wind Workers Concession (OWWC) has been extended until 30 April 2023 – the sixth time it has been prolonged.  
In the joint letter RMT general secretary Mick Lynch and Nautilus leader Mark Dickinson wrote:
"This concession has significant implications for seafarer jobs and training, yet the Home Office has consistently refused to provide any information about its operation or effect on jobs.
"Despite the lack of information regarding the impact of the concession on the labour market over the past five years, our trade unions are concerned that it has had a chilling effect on employment and training for UK resident crew who would otherwise have carried out this work in UK territorial waters. 
"Indeed, we believe that UK crew working on the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm off Fife have been notified that they will be replaced by Filipino crew, as a direct result of the Government’s decision to extend this “temporary concession” yet again.
"Frankly, it is appalling that the Government does not know if this concession masks a domestic labour shortage in the offshore wind supply chain or not. The impression is growing of a department in crisis which is failing to discharge its core responsibilities in line with the government’s energy security strategy committing to major investment in offshore energy. 
"In April, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak touted 480,000 new clean jobs to be supported in offshore energy by 2030. This visa concession flies in the face of this commitment and undermines any attempt to level up our impoverished coastal communities. 
"This temporary concession has now been renewed on at least six occasions since 2017. 
"RMT and Nautilus International have repeatedly called on the Government to scrap the concession and to work with the trade unions to ensure that we have the domestic seafarers to meet increasing demand from the offshore renewable sector as the country decarbonises and reduces insecurity in the supply of energy over the years ahead.
"We would, therefore, be grateful for your response to these points and for a meeting with you and Home Office officials to discuss the impact of the Government’s immigration policies on seafarers in this country."

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Tagged with: Offshore Wind, Seafarers, RMT, Mick Lynch, Nautilus,