Exciting news for the Construction workers and Construction industry

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29 September, 2023

Mohammad Chaudhry

On the 17 July 2023 the Government published a new Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules. The statement contains several changes, the most relevant in the construction sector being the changes to the Skilled Worker visa Shortage Occupations List.

The Shortage Occupations List includes jobs that are in short supply in the UK labour market. To meet any shortfall and attract migrant workers to come and work in the UK, the jobs named on the shortage occupations list come with certain benefits for employers which are allowed under the immigration rules. These include benefits such as paying a lower application fee to the UKVI and paying a comparatively lower salary to the migrant worker.

Due to the increased shortages of workers in the labour market following Brexit and then Covid-19, the Government have now added bricklayers, roofers, tilers, carpenters, joiners, and plasterers to the existing shortage occupations list. They hope that doing so will alleviate this problem as employers will be able to recruit skilled workers from overseas more easily. However, employers must be aware that to do so they must be approved by the Home Office to sponsor migrant workers. As a result of the current shortages, it is likely that British builders/traders will welcome the extra pool of potential employees, and this will be positive for British workers' businesses and the UK economy as a whole.

Impact on the UK labour market

Following Brexit there have been increased shortages in the UK labour market as EU residents now require a valid work visa for certain jobs, including those mentioned above. As such, the changes that have been made to the Shortage Occupations List are likely to be welcomed by those working in the construction sector as it will create an extra pool of potential employees. Ultimately, this will have a positive impact on the UK economy as more migrant workers can be brought to the UK to meet the shortfall in the additional trading industries.

Employers should however be aware that they must be approved by the Home Office to sponsor migrant workers. Therefore, they must apply for and obtain a sponsorship licence before they can take advantage of the shortage occupation list. This involves making an application to the Home Office outlining why they need migrant workers as well as providing documentation which shows that their business is capable of employing workers from overseas. They also need to meet certain sponsorship duties as a responsible employer.

Employers in the construction sector should ensure that they understand the new updates and the impact that they might have on their business activities.

For more information contact Mohammad Chaudhry in our Construction & Infrastructure department via email or phone on 01772220225. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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