How Does the UK Shortage Occupation List Work?
The UK Shortage Occupation List is an important list that defines the types of jobs that are in short supply in the UK. The UK immigration rules for work visas are relaxed for jobs on the SOL, making it easier for workers with the required skills and experience to immigrate to the UK. It is important to note that there is a different occupation list for healthcare workers and education workers. Even if an occupation is not on the list, it can be possible to get a visa for a foreign worker. It is no longer necessary to show a shortage to get approval to sponsor overseas workers.
The salaries for the jobs are based on a 39-hour working week. For other working patterns, they must be pro-rated. In certain cases, the UKVI may delay your application and ask for additional information.
Each job on the list has an occupation code and specific skills required for the jobs. If you do not know the job occupation code for the work you are looking for, you can use the ONS occupation coding tool to find the job.
MAC Origins and Purpose
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises the UK government on immigration issues. Its advice is meant to be independent and evidence-based. Requests are made periodically to the MAC from the UK government for recommendations on which jobs should be placed on SOL.
The Migration Advisory Committee was commissioned to carry out a rapid assessment of the Shortage Occupation List for the construction and hospitality industries. It recommended 5 roles to be added to the list in relation to the construction industry.
A full review of the MAC should be completed later this year. Regular reviews are also planned to be completed in the future to make sure that the immigration system is more responsive to the needs of businesses and agile.
How the MAC Affects the UK Shortage Occupation List
Some of the main factors the MAC considers when deciding on which jobs to add to the list are:
- Is the occupation in shortage?
- Would it be sensible to fill the shortages with migrant workers?
Jobs do not remain indefinitely on the SOL. If you want a specific job to be put in the SOL, you should submit evidence for the need for inclusion and it must meet the MAC’s indicators of labour market conditions for the use of migrant workers.
Requests can be made to have new jobs added to the list of companies. There is no guarantee that roles stay indefinitely on the Shortage Occupation List. Some roles that were previously on the list prior to April 2023 and have since been removed include:
- Chief executives and senior officials
- Production managers and directors in construction
- Production managers and directors in manufacturing
- Production managers and directors in mining and energy
- Financial managers and directors
- Marketing and sales directors
- Purchasing managers and directors
- Advertising and public relations directors
- Human resource managers and directors
- Information technology and telecommunications directors
- Functional managers and directors n.e.c.
- Financial institution managers and directors
- Managers and directors in transport and distribution
- Senior police officers
Changes to the Shortage Occupation List and Eligibility Requirements
The list changes depending on the needs of the UK economy. This explains recent decisions to add certain roles to the list. Vacancies rose sharply for construction and hospitality in relation to pre-pandemic levels. In hospitality, vacancies rose by 72% while vacancies in the construction sector rose by 65%. This is significantly larger than the increase of 42% in the overall economy.
It is expected that these roles will be added to the list before the summer recess in July 2023:
- 5312 (Bricklayers and masons)
- 5313 (Roofers, roof tilers, and slaters)
- 5315 (Carpenters and joiners)
- 5319 (Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified)
- 5321 (Plasterers)
The addition of these roles could help reduce the salary thresholds and application fees for shortage application workers. Employers would benefit from having a wider scope to sponsor overseas workers in a greater range of roles than before.
A more relaxed approach has been taken to the list and requirements as the government tries to encourage companies to access the Universal job market. In March 2023, the government revealed plans to ease access to visas to help with labour shortages. The new system involved the removal of the Resident Labour Market and the suspension of the cap on skilled worker visas.
Benefits of Being on the UK Shortage Occupation List
There are different benefits to a job being on the Shortage Occupation List.
- Permission to work a second job if a role is on the Shortage Occupation List
- 20 points may be tradeable against a salary that is up to 20% below the minimum salary threshold (£20,480 in most cases) as long as the role isn’t subject to national pay scales and no other reduction applies.
- Only 80% of the usual going rate needs to be paid for listed occupations as lower salary rates may be paid for jobs that come under the skilled workers shortage occupation list.
- Lower Home Office Visa Application fee
- Potential exemption from immigration skills charge
Shortage Occupation List 2023
|Occupation code||Job types included on the shortage occupations list||Skill level|
|1181||Health services and public health managers and directors – all jobs||RQF 6|
|1242||Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors – all jobs||RQF 4|
|2111||Chemical scientists – only jobs in the nuclear industry||PhD|
|2112||Biological scientists and biochemists – all jobs||PhD|
|2113||Physical scientists – only these jobs in the construction-related ground engineering industry:||PhD|
|2113||Physical scientists – only these jobs in the oil and gas industry:||PhD|
|2114||Social and humanities scientists – only archaeologists||PhD|
|2121||Civil engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2122||Mechanical engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2123||Electrical engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2124||Electronics engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2126||Design and development engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2127||Production and process engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2129||Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2135||IT business analysts, architects and systems designers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2136||Programmers and software development professionals – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2137||Web design and development professionals – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2139||Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified – only cyber security specialists||RQF 6|
|2216||Veterinarians – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2425||Actuaries, economists and statisticians – only bioinformaticians and informaticians||RQF 6|
|2431||Architects – all jobs||RQF 6|
|2461||Quality control and planning engineers – all jobs||RQF 6|
|3111||Laboratory technicians – all jobs||RQF 3|
|3411||Artists – all jobs||RQF 4|
|3414||Dancers and choreographers – only skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK ballet or contemporary dance companies.The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a UK industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland or Wales).||RQF 4|
|3415||Musicians – only skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras.The orchestra must be a full member of the Association of British Orchestras.||RQF 6|
|3416||Arts officers, producers and directors – all jobs||RQF 6|
|3421||Graphic designers – all jobs||RQF 3|
|5215||Welding trades – only high integrity pipe welders, where the job requires 3 or more years’ related on-the-job experience. Experience may be gained from illegally working.||RQF3/Lower-skilled|
|6145||Care workers and home carers – private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Worker applicants||RQF3/Lower-skilled|
|6146||Senior care workers – all jobs||RQF3/Lower-skilled|
How IAS Can Help
Our team of experienced lawyers and immigration experts have a deep understanding of the Shortage Occupation List. The team has helped a variety of clients and companies of different sizes to successfully complete the Skilled Worker Visa application process.
With the recent changes taking place to the criteria for Shortage Occupation List and the Skilled Worker Visa, it is more important than ever for people looking to move to the UK on the Skilled Worker Visa to rely on experts who understand the details of the Shortage Occupation List.
Expert lawyers at IAS can guide you through the Shortage Occupation List and provide the assistance needed to solve immigration challenges.
Last modified on June 22nd, 2023 at 10:53 am
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The job role does not have to be on the SOL for you to apply for the Skilled Worker Visa. However, to successfully apply for the Skilled Worker Visa, you will need a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS).
There are other requirements that those who want to move to the UK on a Skilled Worker Visa would need to consider. Such requirements include having a minimum amount of money in the bank to sustain yourself in the UK, English language proficiency, and having skills that are at least equivalent to RQF Level 3 (similar to A Level qualifications in the UK).
Visa holders are usually given some time to stay in the UK before their permission to remain ends. The Home Office exercises discretion when making decisions on the remaining validity period of a visa holder’s stay, following the end of employment while on the visa.