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Shortage Occupation List currently under review

Shortage Occupation List is a hot topic in the UK immigration and attracts significant media and public attention. You can read more information relating to Shortage Occupation List in our other article ‘What is Shortage Occupation List for UK visa’

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is an independent, non-statutory, non-time limited, non-departmental public body that advises the government on migration issues. On 23rd February 2023 MAC announced ‘Shortage Occupation List (SOL): call for evidence 2023’ to receive feedback in relation to Shortage Occupation list jobs. MAC want to hear organisations’ views on the shortage occupation roles that are being filled by migrant workers, the salaries they are paid and implications of potential changes. The responses from organisations should be submitted before the closing date of 26 May 2023. Following receipt of the evidence, MAC will conduct their full review and present its recommendations to Home Office in relation to what jobs should be on Shortage Occupation List.

In each SOL review, the MAC assesses which occupations are both in shortage, i.e., where employers find it difficult to secure adequate numbers of workers with the required skills to fill their vacancies, and where they judge that migration is a sensible response to that shortage.

Once an occupation is added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), employers recruiting for this occupation are subject to more favourable migration arrangements. Most notably a reduced salary threshold but also the jobs on SOL have slightly lower visa fees, enabling employers to access a wider pool of suitable workers.

It is worth pointing out, that from 12th April 2023 the minimum salary for Shortage Occupation List jobs will increase to no less than £20,960 gross per year and no less than £10.75 gross per hour. You can read all the details about the recent changes to immigration rules in the latest Statement of Changes to Immigration Rules published on 9th March 2023.

Sponsor licence for construction or building firm shortage occupation list
Construction jobs recommended for shortage occupation list

MAC Interim review 15 March 2023 – Shortage Occupation list in construction and hospitality

In advance of starting the full Shortage Occupation List (SOL) review, MAC was asked by the Home Secretary on 7 February 2023 to deliver an expedited review of occupations in the construction and hospitality sectors, recommending the addition of eligible occupations to the SOL and RQF 1-2 occupations to the Skilled Worker (SW) route where appropriate.The MAC interim review of those sectors was published on 15th March 2023 and our article is focused on this published MAC review.

The recommendations in this report are interim pending the completion of MAC full SOL review. MAC will therefore consider the recommendations received once more as part of the full review and finalise them as part of our list of SOL-related recommendations to Government. 

In the interim review, the MAC has decided not to recommend any RQF 1-2 (low skilled) occupations for addition to the SOL or Skilled Worker route. The Government was clear that such a recommendation should be exceptional and based on particularly strong evidence and MAC did not think such strong evidence was received.

15th March 2023 MAC recommendations for construction

MAC recommended that 5 construction sector Soc Codes should be added to Shortage Occupation List . We indicated those recommended 5 Soc Codes in bold below (Bricklayers and masons, Roofers/roof tilers and slaters, Carpenters and joiners, Plasterers, and Construction and building trades n.e.c). For completeness we also indicate which construction jobs were not recommended for SOL.





Steel erectors

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL


Bricklayers and masons

Recommend for addition to the SOL


Roofers, roof tilers and slaters

Recommend for addition to the SOL


Carpenters and joiners

Recommend for addition to the SOL


Construction and building trades n.e.c.

Recommend for addition to the SOL



Recommend for addition to the SOL and recommend that ‘Dryliners’ but not ‘Ceiling fixers’ are moved to this SOC code


Scaffolders, stagers and riggers

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL


Road construction operatives

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL


Construction operatives n.e.c.

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL Recommend that ‘Dryliners’ but not ‘Ceiling fixers’ are moved from this SOC code to SOC code 5321 (Plasterers)


Mobile machine drivers and operatives n.e.c.

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL


Elementary construction occupations

Do not recommend for addition to the SOL

15th March 2023 MAC recommendations for hospitality

For the few hospitality occupations at skill level RQF 3-5 in-scope, MAC do not feel that they have sufficiently clear evidence that these specific occupations are in shortage, or, that a lower salary threshold would be sensible. As a result, MAC do not recommend the addition of any occupations in the hospitality sector to the SOL.

MAC again paid particular attention to Chefs, as they did in the SOL 2020 report. However, overall, the MAC is not persuaded that their decision in 2020 to recommend the removal of Chefs from the SOL should be reversed.

The hospitality sector requested that Sommeliers (a job title within the RQF 1-2 waiters and waitresses occupation) be categorised as an RQF 3 level job and therefore made eligible for the Skilled Worker route. Given the compressed time schedule of the interim review, MAC stated that they could not realistically review sufficient evidence concerning the training requirements of Sommeliers. Therefore, MAC invites the hospitality sector to provide further evidence on this for the full SOL review.

MAC stated in their interim review that they recognise that the hospitality sector was given a far from ideal timescale to provide evidence on this occasion and encourage stakeholders to provide robust, evidence-based submissions to us for their full SOL review. This evidence should clearly set out the importance of the occupation to the UK economy and provide evidence that domestic recruitment is insufficient for that occupation, and that a lower salary threshold is needed.

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