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Chinese subbies look to UK for improved profits

UK construction market tempts Chinese businesses and workers looking for greater margins

CHINESE subcontractors and workers are ditching the booming local construction industry and setting sail for the UK's more profitable market.

Despite China's construction success its firms are being tempted to the UK by the chance of increased margins.

Steve Jones, a director at consultants MDA, said: 'It started with materials.Now some Chinese companies are looking to see if they can take on the contracts themselves.

'I'm not sure why they're looking for work here but I guess the opportunity to increase their margins is proving attractive.

'If they catch a cold then I wouldn't have thought there would be many more looking but if they start winning some jobs then I expect we will be seeing more and more.'

Individual workers are also starting to turn their attention from the booming Asian economy.

A recruitment firm from Southend-on-sea, called Ouida, is placing Chinese construction workers with British firms.

The company has already found work for Chinese bridge engineers in Chelmsford and is looking to help more make the trip.

But getting more labour into the UK is proving tricky. Richard Harley, the firm's director, said: 'Everything is set up.We have the relevant courses arranged and a college can provide the language courses.

'We have a contract with a Chinese company but the problem is visas. So we're going to meet with a MP to discuss the possibility of a labour shortage list.

'Once that happens the visa problems should be sorted. If we can get a major construction company on board there should be more workers over very quickly.'