Government Adds More Construction Roles to the Shortage Occupation List

Government Adds More Construction Roles to the Shortage Occupation List

If you’re an employer in the construction sector, here’s some good news: the UK Government is changing the immigration rules that could make your life easier when recruiting skilled workers from overseas. These changes simplify the process and create more favourable conditions for hiring qualified professionals from abroad. If you’ve been struggling to find the right talent locally, these upcoming changes might provide a helpful solution for your workforce needs.

What Action is the Government Taking?

In the recent 2023 Spring Budget statement, the UK government unveiled its plans to address immediate labour shortages and ensure access to skills and talent from overseas in the UK labour market. It’s a move that could potentially grant much-needed help to the construction sector, which had previously called on the Home Office to make the process of skilled foreign workers qualifying for UK work visas easier — a request echoed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The government has since commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to assess the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) in line with the needs of two sectors facing a skilled worker shortage crisis: construction and hospitality. The assessment is taking place before a pending full review of the SOL — which is expected to conclude later this year.

The government has accepted the MAC’s interim recommendations to include five construction occupations in the SOL. These roles are:

  • Bricklayers and masons
  • Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Plasterers
  • Construction and building trades.

What is the Shortage Occupation List?

The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is a compiled list of occupations in the UK experiencing a shortage of skilled workers within the country. These occupations are deemed to be in high demand and face difficulties in recruitment from the domestic labour market. The SOL is created and regularly reviewed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent advisory body appointed by the UK government.

When an occupation is included in the SOL, employers facing a shortage of workers in those specific roles can benefit from certain immigration advantages. This includes simplified visa processes (via the Skilled Worker visa route) and reduced salary thresholds for sponsoring skilled workers from outside the UK. The SOL helps address critical skills gaps in key sectors of the economy and supports businesses in filling positions with foreign talent when necessary.

What These Changes Mean for the Construction Industry

Adding these construction roles to the SOL should bring relief to construction businesses having difficulty finding talent with the right skill set. However, it’s important for employers to remember that hiring overseas workers is not as simple as posting a job, waiting for a candidate to apply and extending an offer.

To benefit from the relaxed rules, employers must go through the necessary steps to obtain approval from the Home Office to become a sponsor for migrant workers. This entails applying for and obtaining a sponsor licence if they don’t already possess one. Employers must be proactive in meeting these requirements to leverage the opportunities provided by the revised rules.

If this process seems too costly and time-consuming, there are still alternatives to finding skilled workers locally. For instance, you can work with organisations like CHAS by becoming a CHAS Client; this instantly connects you with a network of more than 32,500 prequalified contractors and suppliers nationwide.

Author: Alex Minett

Alex Minett is the Head of Product & Markets at CHAS, the UK’s leading health and safety assessment scheme and provider of risk mitigation, compliance, and supply chain management services. With a working history in the audit and management consulting industry, Alex is experienced in implementing visions and strategies. Skilled in negotiation, management and business development, he is passionate about driving CHAS in its mission to safeguard organisations from risk in the UK.

LinkedIn: Alex Minett

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