Shortage Occupation List Changes – Construction Sector Benefits

10th August 2023

The update to the immigration shortage occupation list (SOL) came into effect on 7 August following the statement of changes to the immigration rules outlined back in July.

As a quick reminder the two key benefits for an occupational code being placed on the SOL are the reduced salary requirement and lower visa application fees, with the salaries typically being permitted to be below 80% of the normal going rate and visa application fees being reduced by around 25%, a relatively significant saving particularly in light of the upcoming increase in visa fees.

Why the sector benefits

The main beneficiaries to the changes were roles in both the construction sector and in the fishing sector and therefore employers in those sectors, with the government implementing the interim advice issued by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in its previous report (see here). In a nutshell the MAC analysed how these sectors use the immigration system, looking at visa applications statistics, and compared this with the percentage of all workforce jobs these sectors represent, and found that the construction and fishing industries used the immigration system far less than they should be doing, given their overall share of workforce jobs. The MAC noted the importance of the construction sector to the UK economy and, using its usual criteria, deemed it sensible to recommend adding certain construction roles to the SOL to encourage the sector to interact with the immigration system.

The specific roles added were:

  • 5312 Bricklayers;  5313 Roofers, 5315 Carpenters; 5319 Construction and trades jobs not elsewhere classified; and 5321 plasterers. Within code 5321 the role of dryliners was moved to this code having previously been ineligible for sponsorship.

Sponsorship therefore for the above roles has become easier and more affordable.

How to benefit from this change

The MAC noted that these changes would not necessarily result in an immediate increase of visa applications from the construction sector as many employers in this sector were not licenced sponsor holders, therefore if you are an employer in the construction sector and wish to benefit, you would need to first obtain a sponsor licence. Employers who are licenced should evaluate any labour shortages on the roles added to the list and see if it is feasible to fill these vacancies using the immigration system.

If you wish to know more about these changes and how your company can benefit please contact for further information.