The Government has extended the Home Office’s shortage occupation list to include bricklayers, roofers, plasterers and carpenters in a welcome boost to the UK construction industry, says global immigration law firm Fragomen.
The following construction roles have now been added to the shortage occupation list:
- Bricklayers and masons
- Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
- Carpenters and joiners
- Plasterers (including dryliners)
- Those in construction and building trades not elsewhere classified
This is a significant expansion of the construction jobs with Government-recognised shortages; before now the only construction role on the list was certain high integrity pipe welders.
The benefit to sponsors is reduced minimum salary requirements and visa fees. Exact salary figures will vary from role to role, but, for example, a bricklayer can now be paid £20,960 or £10.75 an hour, reduced from £26,200. Visa application costs are now £464 instead of £610.
Kirsty Moore, a Senior Associate at Fragomen advising construction companies and contractors said: “The update follows a review of shortages in the construction sector by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
“The review made clear the reasons that immigration is considered a suitable short-term response to shortages: evidence of sector-wide initiatives to improve recruitment and retention in the longer term, together with the strategic importance of construction work to the UK’s economy. The intention is to make it easier for construction businesses to access overseas workers by sponsoring them to come to the UK.”
Construction companies and contractors are urged to act quickly should they wish to recruit overseas talent as further visa fees and Immigration Health Surcharge, a mandatory fee paid at the time of visa application for access to the NHS, are expected to increase.
“The Government has said that public sector pay increases will be funded by increases to visa application fees of between 15-20% and the Immigration Health Surcharge of 66%. There is currently no indication of timeframe and there may be very little warning, so where practical, it may be sensible for applications to be submitted sooner rather than later.”