The impact of labour shortages in the Construction industry is well documented as are the consequences of Brexit on the industry, statistics confirm that one in three construction firms are suffering from worker shortages. Key stakeholders such as The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) have been engaging with the UK government to review accessibility to workers from outside of the UK and have welcomed recent reforms made to the Immigration Rules.

On 07 February 2023 the Home Secretary requested the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to deliver an expediated review of occupations in the construction sector. The MAC has published its report into labour shortages in the construction sector. We look at what this means for construction firms?

To recruit non-UK resident Skilled Workers companies must be approved by the Home Office and hold a valid Sponsor License. The job roles they wish to recruit for must be eligible for sponsorship, the Home Office provides a list of approved roles. Job roles which are deemed to be in short supply within the UK have a more relaxed eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications, this is known as the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

The following job roles from the construction industry have been identified to be in short supply and have been added to the SOL, a number of these roles were highlighted by The Construction Leadership Council in their report;

5312 (Bricklayers and masons)

5313 (Roofers, roof tilers and slaters)

5315 (Carpenters and joiners)

5319 (Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified)

5321 (Plasterers); Dryliners will fall with this code which were previously code 8149 (construction operatives not elsewhere classified)

The SOL concession will allow construction firms to offer workers a minimum salary of £20,960 per year for the above occupations, the previous minimum salary requirement was £26,200. An additional benefit is that the visa application fees will also be reduced to £479 where an employer is sponsoring an overseas worker for up to 3 years (previously £625) and £943 for a visa more than 3 years (previously £1235).