Albanian tradesmen looking to fill Polish gap as Brexit bites

  • Huge hike in numbers of Albanians searching for work in UK
  • HaMuch.com figures suggest kitchen fitting, extensions and plumbing most popular​
  • Albanian workers targeting Kensington, Islington and Central Birmingham

Building work pricing site HaMuch.com has uncovered an unexpected trend that may give an indication of just who will be fixing your boiler or installing your kitchen after Britain has left the EU. 

The HaMuch.com website shows hourly and daily rates, so homeowners can search by price before posting a job or selecting which local tradesmen they want to employ. It also gives tradesmen an idea of the going rate in their area. 

Most of HaMuch.com’s traffic has always come from the UK, but data managers at the website noticed that many recent searches have been coming from Albania – shooting up more than twenty-fold in the last few months. Figures have leapt from just 10 searches from Albania in March to 194 in June and 255 in July, a rise of 2550%. The figure is still rising and shows no sign of stopping. 

The majority of the website’s non-English-speaking country searches like “heating engineer near me” are now from Albania, which has leapt way ahead of Poland, Lithuania, Romania and France. This bump in search numbers came as Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned and the announcement of the Chequers Agreement by Theresa May, as well as pressstories about potential labour shortages once the UK quits the EU.

“The bump in Albanian traffic foxed us at first,” says HaMuch Managing Director Tarquin Purdie. “So, I started to ask around amongst the few Albanian tradesman in the UK that I know. One that I have had previous dealings with said that workers in his country are more clued up about the UK than we might think. They have seen news about Polish or French people feeling insecure here and starting to leave, and many think that means a new market opening up for them, at better rates than they can make at home. We are seeing twenty to thirty searches per day from Albania so far this month and I don’t expect that to slow down soon.

“The highest number of searches from Albania have been for kitchen-fitting work, bathrooms, extensions and general plumbing work. They are getting an idea of what trades in the UK charge, as well as the areas where work or competition may be. The most popular areas for search amongst those looking from Albania have been Heating Engineer in Kensington , Plumber in Islington and Builder in Birmingham. These are certainly areas with high traffic for all kinds of building work, so they know what they are looking for.”

The findings from HaMuch come just days after the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) released the findings of a survey that showed UK companies are struggling to fill vacancies as fewer UK citizens move here and others leave. The CIPD noted that applicants per vacancy are falling year on year, with companies forced to raise wages to aid recruitment. 

Albania is not currently an EU country, but is expected to be admitted soon and is undergoing pre-entry preparations. Albanian workers can apply for working and business visas for the UK, which may become easier if the government decides that certain trades are in short supply after Brexit.

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