Builders are hiring Portuguese bricklayers on £1,000 a week because not enough Britons can do the job.
Skilled workers are in such short supply they can demand double the normal day rate of £100.
A month ago the Mail revealed that a similar labour shortage had forced the UK’s biggest sandwich manufacturer to recruit in Hungary because it could not fill its production line with local workers.
Portugal has become a hot spot for builders while energy firms are hiring Spanish engineers, according to James Hick of recruiters Manpower.
‘There is a severe shortage of skilled tradespeople in Britain – bricklayers, plumbers, electricians, mechanical engineers, HGV drivers,’ he added. ‘Where they were paying £500 a week at the beginning of the year, the demand for those skills means they are now paying £1,000 a week.
‘That pressure on skills is huge, particularly in the construction industry in the South East and London.’
He accused UK firms of halting training schemes in the downturn and being left short when construction picked up.
‘That is not something that can be resolved quickly, but companies need people who can work now, so they have had to put up pay and look elsewhere’, he added.