What are SOC Codes?
Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes, also called occupation codes, are four-digit numbers used to classify different job types.
The codes are taken from a system designed by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), and they cover all types of paid jobs in the UK economy. The occupation codes indicate the applicable going rate or salary for each role and also provides the related job titles associated with each role.
An occupation code helps the Home Office to determine if a migrant worker’s role meets certain visa requirements, such as the skills level and going rate threshold, to qualify for a UK work visa.
For foreign nationals to qualify for a UK work visa, their role must be at a specific skill level, and the job must be eligible for sponsorship as featured on the list of SOC codes.
As such, sponsoring organisations must ensure that when hiring migrant workers, they have the right skills, qualifications, and experience for the offered job and that the role pays the relevant salary.
How the Sponsorship Process Work
All migrant workers must be assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by their sponsors before applying for a visa. The CoS usually contains the worker’s personal details, the job details, and the occupation code for the role.
Before assigning the Certificate of Sponsorship, the sponsor must select the correct SOC code for the job role from the list of eligible occupations. The applicant must then provide the corresponding occupation code during the visa application.
How to Choose the Appropriate Occupation Code
When choosing SOC codes, employers will need to go through the list of eligible occupations and find the code that closely matches the role they’re hiring for.
Employers can use the occupation coding tool on the ONS website to search by job title. The ONS tool will identify possible occupation codes for the corresponding job title.
The sponsor will need to read through the job descriptions for each result to determine the correct SOC code for the role. As such, when considering the right code, it’s best to focus on the duties and responsibilities or requirements of the role rather than the title.
Changes in SOC Codes
It’s important to note that the SOC code list is subject to change by the UK government. This change can affect code classifications, job types, job titles, and going rates and can occur anytime.
As such, sponsors should always check the latest version of the eligible occupation codes each time they assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to avoid using an invalid code.
|Occupation Code||Job Type||Related Job Titles|
|1115||Chief executives and senior officials||Chief executive, Chief medical officer, Civil servant (grade 5 and above), Vice president|
|1121||Production managers and directors in manufacturing||Engineering manager, Managing director (engineering), Operations manager (manufacturing), Production manager|
|1122||Production managers and directors in construction||Building Services manager, Construction manager, Director (building construction), Owner (electrical contracting)|
|1132||Marketing and sales directors||Marketing director, Sales director|
|1134||Advertising and public relations directors||Account director (advertising), Head of public relations|
|1136||Information technology and telecommunications directors||IT Director, Technical director (computer services), Telecommunications director|
|1139||Functional managers and directors not elsewhere classified||Manager (charitable organisation), Research director|
|1172||Senior police officers||Chief superintendent (police service), Detective inspector, Police inspector|
|1173||Senior officers in fire, ambulance, prison and related services||Fire service officer (government), Prison governor, Station officer (ambulance service)|
|1181||Health services and public health managers and directors||Director of nursing, Health Service manager, Information manager (health authority: hospital service)|
|1184||Social services managers and directors||Care manager (local government: social services), Service manager (welfare services)|
|1190||Managers and directors in retail and wholesale||Managing director (retail trade), Retail manager, Shop manager (charitable organisation), Wholesale manager|
|1221||Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors||Caravan park owner, Hotel manager, Landlady (boarding, guest, lodging house)|
|1223||Restaurant and catering establishment managers and proprietors||Café owner, Fish & chip shopkeeper, Operations manager (catering), Restaurant manager, Shop manager (take-away food shop)|
|1251||Property, housing and estate managers||Estate manager, Facilities manager, Landlord (property management), Property manager|
|1253||Hairdressing and beauty salon managers and proprietors||Hairdressing salon owner, Health and fitness manager, Manager (beauty salon)|
|1255||Waste disposal and environmental services managers||Environmental manager (refuse disposal), Manager (local government: cleansing dept.), Recycling plant manager, Scrap metal dealer|
|1259||Managers and proprietors in other services not elsewhere classified||Betting shop manager, Graphic design classified manager, Library manager, Plant hire manager, Production manager (entertainment)|
|2119||Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified For Skilled Worker purposes, occupation code 2119 includes researchers in research organisations other than universities.||Operational research scientist, Research associate (medical), Research fellow, Researcher, Scientific officer, Scientist, Sports scientist, University researcher|
|2121||Civil engineers||Building engineer, Civil engineer (professional), Highways engineer, Petroleum engineer, Public health engineer, Site engineer, Structural engineer|
|2122||Mechanical engineers||Aeronautical engineer (professional), Aerospace engineer, Automotive engineer (professional), Marine engineer (professional), Mechanical engineer (professional)|
|2123||IT specialist managers||Data centre manager, IT manager, IT support manager, Network operations manager (computer services), Service delivery manager|
|2134||IT project and programme managers||Implementation manager (computing), IT project manager, Programme manager (computing), Project leader (software design)|
|2135||IT business analysts, architects and systems designers||Business analyst (computing), Data communications analyst, Systems analyst, Systems consultant, Technical analyst (computing), Technical architect|
|2136||Programmers and software development professionals||Analyst-programmer, Database developer, Games programmer, Programmer, Software engineer|
|2139||Information technology and telecommunications professionals not elsewhere classified||IT consultant, Quality analyst (computing), Software tester, Systems tester (computing), Telecommunications planner|
|2142||Environment professionals||Energy manager, Environmental consultant, Environmental engineer, Environmental protection officer, Environmental scientist, Landfill engineer|
|2211||Medical practitioners||Anaesthetist, Consultant (Hospital Service), Doctor, General practitioner, Medical practitioner, Paediatrician, Psychiatrist, Radiologist, Surgeon|
|2213||Pharmacists||Chemist (pharmaceutical), Dispensary manager, Pharmaceutical chemist, Pharmacist, Pharmacy manager|
|2222||Occupational therapists||Occupational therapist|
|2229||Therapy professionals not elsewhere classified||Art therapist, Chiropractor, Cognitive behavioural therapist, Dance movement therapist, Family therapist, Nutritionist, Osteopath, Psychotherapist|
|2311||Higher education teaching professionals||Fellow (university), Lecturer (higher education, university), Professor (higher education, university), Tutor (higher education, university), University lecturer|
|2312||Further education teaching professionals||FE College lecturer, Lecturer (further education), Teacher (further education), Tutor (further education)|
|2314||Secondary education teaching professionals||Deputy head teacher (secondary school), Secondary school teacher, Sixth form teacher, Teacher (secondary school)|
|2315||Primary and nursery education teaching professionals||Deputy head teacher (primary school), Infant teacher, Nursery school teacher, Primary school teacher|
|2316||Special needs education teaching professionals||Deputy head teacher (special school), Learning support teacher, Special needs coordinator, Special needs teacher|
|2319||Teaching and other educational professionals not elsewhere classified||Adult education tutor, Education consultant, Music teacher, Nursery manager (day nursery), Owner (nursery: children’s), Private tutor, TEFL|
|2412||Barristers and judges||Advocate, Barrister, Chairman (appeals tribunal, inquiry), Coroner, Crown prosecutor, District judge|
|2413||Solicitors||Managing clerk (qualified solicitor), Solicitor, Solicitor-partner, Solicitor to the council|
|2419||Legal professionals not elsewhere classified||Attorney, Justice’s clerk, Lawyer, Legal adviser, Legal consultant, Legal counsel, Solicitor’s clerk (articled)|
|2423||Management consultants and business analysts||Business adviser, Business consultant, Business continuity manager, Financial risk analyst, Management consultant|
|2424||Business and financial project management professionals||Chief knowledge officer, Contracts manager (security services), Project manager, Research support officer|
|2426||Business and related research professionals||Crime analyst (police force), Fellow (research), Games researcher (broadcasting), Inventor|
|2429||Business, research and administrative professionals not elsewhere classified||Civil servant (grade 6, 7), Company secretary (qualified), Policy adviser (government), Registrar (government)|
|2431||Architects||Architect, Architectural consultant, Chartered architect, Landscape architect|
|2432||Town planning officers||Planning officer (local government: building and contracting), Town planner, Town planning consultant|
|2433||Quantity surveyors||Quantity surveyor, Surveyor (quantity surveying)|
|2434||Chartered surveyors||Building surveyor, Chartered surveyor, Hydrographic surveyor, Land surveyor|
|2436||Construction project managers and related professionals||Contract manager (building construction), Project manager (building construction), Transport planner|
|2443||Probation officers||Inspector (National Probation Service), Probation officer, Youth justice officer|
|2449||Welfare professionals not elsewhere classified||Children’s guardian, Rehabilitation officer, Social services officer, Youth worker (professional)|
|2463||Environmental health professionals||Air pollution inspector, Environmental health officer, Food inspector, Public health inspector, Technical officer (environmental health)|
|2472||Public relations professionals||Account manager (public relations), Information officer (public relations), PR consultant, Press officer, Public relations officer|
|2473||Advertising accounts managers and creative directors||Account manager (advertising), Advertising Manager, Campaign Manager, Creative Director, Projects Manager (advertising)|
|3113||Engineering technicians||Aircraft technician, Commissioning engineer, Engineering technician, Manufacturing engineer, Mechanical technician|
|3114||Building and civil engineering technicians||Building services consultant, Civil engineering technician, Survey technician, Technical assistant (civil engineering)|
|3119||Science, engineering and production technicians not elsewhere classified||School technician, Technical assistant, Technician, Textile consultant, Workshop technician|
|3131||IT operations technicians||Computer games tester, Database administrator, IT technician, Network administrator, Systems administrator|
|3132||IT user support technicians||Customer support analyst, Help desk operator, IT support technician, Systems support officer|
|3213||Paramedics||Ambulance paramedic, Emergency care practitioner, Paramedic, Paramedic-ECP|
|3239||Welfare and housing associate professionals not elsewhere classified||Day centre officer, Health coordinator, Key worker (welfare services), Outreach worker (welfare services), Probation services officer, Project worker (welfare services)|
|3312||Police officers (sergeant and below)||Detective (police service), Police constable, Police officer, Sergeant, Transport police officer|
|3313||Fire service officers (watch manager and below)||Fire engineer, Fire safety officer, Firefighter, Watch manager (fire service)|
|3319||Protective service associate professionals not elsewhere classified||Customs officer, Immigration officer, Operations manager (security services), Scenes of crime officer, Security manager|
|3533||Insurance underwriters||Account handler (insurance), Commercial underwriter, Insurance inspector, Mortgage underwriter, Underwriter|
|3534||Finance and investment analysts and advisers||Financial adviser, Financial analyst, Financial consultant, Mortgage adviser, Pensions consultant|
|3535||Taxation experts||Tax adviser, Tax consultant, Tax inspector, Taxation specialist|
|3537||Financial and accounting technicians||Accounting technician, Business associate (banking), Financial controller, Insolvency administrator, Managing clerk (accountancy)|
|3538||Financial accounts managers||Accounts manager, Audit manager, Credit manager, Fund manager, Relationship manager (bank)|
|3539||Business and related associate professionals not elsewhere classified||Business systems analyst, Data analyst, Marine consultant, Planning assistant, Project administrator, Project coordinator|
|3541||Buyers and procurement officers||Buyer, Procurement officer, Purchasing consultant|
|3542||Business sales executives||Corporate account executive, Sales agent, Sales consultant, Sales executive, Technical representative|
|3543||Marketing associate professionals||Business development executive, Fundraiser, Market research analyst, Marketing consultant, Marketing executive|
|3545||Sales accounts and business development managers||Account manager (sales), Area sales manager, Business development manager, Product development manager, Sales manager|
|3546||Conference and exhibition managers and organisers||Conference coordinator, Event organiser, Events manager, Exhibition organiser, Hospitality manager|
|3550||Conservation and environmental associate professionals||Conservation worker, Countryside ranger, National park warden, Park ranger|
|3561||Public services associate professionals||Higher executive officer (government), Principle revenue officer (local government), Senior executive officer (government)|
|3562||Human resources and industrial relations officers||Employment adviser, Human resources officer, Personnel officer, Recruitment consultant|
|3567||Health and safety officers||Fire protection engineer (professional), Health and safety officer, Occupational hygienist, Safety consultant, Safety officer|
|4112||National government administrative occupations||Administrative assistant (courts of justice), Administrative officer (government), Civil servant (EO), Clerk (government), Revenue officer (government)|
|4114||Officers of nongovernmental organisations||Administrator (charitable organisation), Organiser (trade union), Secretary (research association), Trade union official|
|4151||Sales administrators||Marketing administrator, Sales administrator, Sales clerk, Sales coordinator|
|5119||Agricultural and fishing trades not elsewhere classified||Arboricultural consultant, Bee farmer, Gamekeeper, Share fisherman, Trawler skipper, Tree surgeon|
|5242||Telecommunications engineers||Cable jointer, Customer service engineer (telecommunications), Installation engineer (telecommunications), Network officer (telecommunications), Telecommunications engineer, Telephone engineer|
|5244||TV, video and audio engineers||Installation engineer (radio, television and video), Satellite engineer, Service engineer (radio, television and video), Technician (radio, television and video), Television engineer|
|5245||IT engineers||Computer repairer, Computer service engineer, Hardware engineer (computer), Maintenance engineer (computer servicing)|
|5319||Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified||Acoustician, Builder, Building contractor, Fencer, Maintenance manager (buildings and other structures), Property developer (building construction)|
|5419||Textiles, garments and related trades not elsewhere classified||Clothing manufacturer, Embroiderer, Hand sewer, Sail maker, Upholstery cutter|
|5434||Chefs||Chef, Chef-manager, Head chef, Pastry chef|
|5436||Catering and bar managers||Bar manager, Catering manager, Floor manager (restaurant), Kitchen manager, Steward (club)|
|5449||Other skilled trades not elsewhere classified||Diamond mounter, Engraver, Goldsmith, Paint sprayer, Piano tuner, Sign maker, Silversmith, Wig maker|
|6121||Nursery nurses and assistants||Crèche assistant, Crèche worker, Nursery assistant, Nursery nurse|
|6125||Teaching assistants||Classroom assistant, School assistant, Teaching assistant|
|6126||Educational support assistants||Education support assistant, Learning support assistant, Non-teaching assistant (schools), Special needs assistant (educational establishments), Support assistant (educational establishments)|
|6146||Senior care workers||Senior care assistant, Senior carer, Senior support worker (Local government: welfare services), Team leader (nursing home)|
|7130||Sales supervisors||Sales supervisor (retail trade: delivery round), Section manager (retail trade), Shop supervisor (retail trade), Supervisor (retail, wholesale trade), Team leader (retail trade)|
|7220||Customer service managers and supervisors||After sales manager, Call centre supervisor, Customer service manager, Customer service supervisor, Team leader (customer care)|
|8232||Marine and waterways transport operatives||Engine room attendant (shipping), Engineer, nos (boat, barge), Ferryman, Merchant seaman, Seaman (shipping)|
|9119||Fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations not elsewhere classified||Vent chick sexer, Deckhand on large fishing vessel (9 metres and above).|
For both job titles, the job must require 3 or more years’ full-time experience.
This experience must not have been gained through illegal working.Other jobs in this occupation are not eligible.
If the wrong occupation code is selected and it is found to be a result of a genuine error, it may be possible to rectify it. However, there will be consequences if a wrong code is chosen for the following reasons:
- The most appropriate occupation code for the job is not on the list of eligible occupations for the work visa route.
- The going rate for the most relevant occupation code is higher than the salary being proposed for the employee.
- The employee is claiming points for a job in a shortage occupation, but the appropriate occupation code is not on the shortage occupation list.
- The employee is claiming points for a PhD qualification, but the most appropriate code is not eligible for PhD points.
When assessing if the wrong code was used, the Home Office’s action will depend on the following factors:
- Whether the employer has a genuine vacancy for the job described
- Whether the applicant or employee has the appropriate skills, qualifications, and experience for the role on the CoS.
- The sponsor’s history of compliance with UK immigration rules.
Consequences For an Applicant
Choosing the wrong occupation code can delay the employee’s visa processing. The Home Office may also refuse the application for failure to meet the visa requirement.
As such, the applicant may need to make a new application with the correct occupation code and will have to pay all the associated visa application fees again.
Consequences For a Sponsor
Using the wrong SOC code can also lead to severe consequences for the employer. The Home Office can take compliance action against the organisation by suspending, revoking, or downgrading its sponsor licence.
As such, affected employees will not be able to sponsor new workers, and their names may be removed from the public entry of the register of sponsors. Depending on the severity of the situation, permissions for already existing sponsored workers might be cancelled.
Therefore, sponsors should take care not to provide the wrong information to the Home office.
How Does the Home Office Investigate SOC Codes?
When assessing an application, the Home Office caseworker will check the SOC code, job title, job description, and going rate against the role and salary offered to the migrant worker to ensure that the correct code has been selected.
The caseworker will investigate if the appropriate CoS for the job was assigned. They can access the Sponsor Management System (SMS) to check if the information on the application form is the same as the assigned CoS.
They can request and review the worker’s employment contract and job duties and interview the employee to verify the actual responsibilities of the job. They will also investigate if the worker has the appropriate skills for the role.
If they believe that the code chosen is not the most appropriate for the role, they can request an explanation as to why it was selected when another code might be more suitable before making a decision.
How can IAS Help
Choosing the right SOC code can be challenging, as it is not always obvious which code matches the right job. Here is where we come in.
At IAS, our expert and professional legal advisers are well-versed in UK immigration laws and requirements.
We can help you determine the right occupation code for a job and ensure that you meet the Home Office requirement whether you’re applying or recruiting under a sponsored worker route.
For more information on how we can help you, reach out to us on 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.
Last modified on January 6th, 2023 at 5:14 pm
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