What is Shortage Occupation List for UK visa

The UK Shortage Occupation list is the official record of jobs that are recognised by the UK immigration authority as having staff shortages in the UK. In a range of sectors there is lack of staff to fill vacancies in the UK. This gives the opportunity for those foreign nationals who have the required skills to apply for those UK jobs and obtain the relevant Skilled Worker or Health and Care visas that will allow them and their families to settle in the UK permanently and even obtain British citizenship.

Jobs listed on the Shortage Occupation have a reduced minimum salary requirement for the Skilled Worker visa and the visa application fee is lower. This way the Home Office makes it easier for employers to recruit foreign workers to fill job vacancies where there are staff shortages in the UK.

You will need to find a suitably skilled job first, to then apply for a Skilled Worker visa.

In order to find a UK job, you would need to visit UK employers websites directly or apply via recruitment agencies websites, and submit your job applications. Further below we list some examples of recruitment websites but there are many others that you can find by doing internet search.

When searching for UK jobs, you need to be patient, and also careful, as you need to watch out for any unscrupulous ‘recruitment agents’ who may try to make money out of you. You should note, that it is illegal for job agencies in the UK to charge fees to job seekers for finding them employment. It is an important principle to bear in mind when searching for jobs. Please read the recent article in the UK Guardian newspaper on this topic. ‘Migrant care workers came to help the UK. Now they’re trapped in debt bondage’.




shortage occupation UK visa list

Where to find out what jobs are on the Shortage Occupation list

If you wonder what jobs are currently in demand in the UK, you may check the UK Shortage Occupation List. The jobs in Shortage Occupation list are published by the Home Office in the Immigration Rules Appendix Shortage Occupation List – Immigration Rules – Guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What jobs are on UK Shortage Occupation List

Examples of jobs on the Shortage Occupation List:

  • Care workers
  • Veterinarians
  • Health sector jobs (e.g. medical practitioners, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, medical radiographers, physiotherapists, paramedics, social workers, nursing auxiliaries and assistants)
  • Secondary teachers (only teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and modern foreign languages)
  • Programmers and software development professionals
  • Web design and development professionals
  • IT systems analysts, architects and systems designers
  • Civil engineers
  • Mechanical engineers
  • Electrical engineers.
  • Graphic designers
  • Arts officers, producers and directors 

The above list is not complete, and it only gives examples of the type of jobs on the Shortage Occupation List. The full current list can be found here.

Why is it relevant if the job is on the Shortage List

Jobs on the Shortage Occupation List have a lower minimum salary requirement for Skilled Worker visa. The minimum pay has to be no less than 80% of the going rate for the specific job (each job that qualifies for the Skilled Worker visa has a minimum salary rate assigned to it) and no less than £20,480 gross per year, whichever of the two is higher. To find out more about different salary levels for a Skilled Worker visa, please visit this page on our website. You will see that there are a number of different scenarios when the minimum salary can be lower than the standard £25,600 gross per year.

When applying for Skilled Worker sponsor licence it is easier to explain the need to employ a foreign worker if the job is on the Shortage Occupation list.

Those who applied for asylum in the UK normally are unable to work until their claim is granted. However, in certain circumstances asylum applicants whose cases have been pending with the Home Office for over 12 months due to no fault of their own, may be able to obtain a permission to work from the Home Office. We provide more information on this here.

Finally, the Skilled Worker visa application fee for the main applicant and dependent family members is lower when the job is on the Shortage Occupation list.

What do you need to take advantage of the opportunity

To take advantage of the lower salaries for skilled jobs on the Shortage Occupation list, and to employ such workers, the organization should already possess a Skilled Worker sponsor licence Or be prepared to apply for one.

There are numerous reports that foreign nationals searching for shortage occupation jobs in care homes, are being exploited by bogus ‘recruitment agencies’ and middle men. See as an example recent article in The Guardian on this topic. Some of those so called recruiters can charge anything between 3000 and 18000 GBP for their services.

Charging for the work placement is illegal in the UK. No reputable recruitment agency would charge fees, in particular such steep ones, for a work placement. If you are a worker looking for a job in the UK in the shortage occupation type of employment the best way to go about it is to find and apply for the position by yourself. Money you save can be put to better use. For example to translate documents and visa application services.

What to do if you are looking for work

You can check if your prospective employer already has the Skilled Worker sponsor licence by going to Home Office website.

If your prospective employer already has the sponsor licence they will be able to assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship (work permit). If they do not have one, they will need to apply for Skilled Worker sponsor licence first, before they can assign you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS). Only when you have a Cos (work permit) from a licenced sponsor employer, you can subsequently apply for a Skilled Worker visa.

Where and how to look for jobs in the UK

There are several websites dedicated to job search in the UK. Please note that Immigration lawyers or solicitors cannot help in finding jobs or look for jobs for the applicants. What we do as immigration lawyers is assisting with visa applications after you already have a job offer from a UK employer.

Your course of action when looking for job should be:

  • First you have to visit Home Office webpage and download the list of certified sponsors and search it for care providers
  • then you have to visit job search websites, such as for example Indeed or Carehome.co.uk and look through them for companies with sponsor licence (you can use search function) or simply search for care jobs from the 6145 SOC list below
  • alternatively, you can directly contact care providers from the sponsor list asking if they are hiring, you can find them and their contact details through internet search
  • when you select a suitable job offer, you can then submit your CV, or write to the job advertiser

We, as an immigration law firm, do not act as an employment agency.

More care jobs are now added to the Shortage Occupation List

The Shortage Occupation List is subject to changes and the Home Office may add or remove jobs from the list. Home Office makes their decisions based on the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) reports. The latest MAC annual report Migration Advisory Committee: annual report, 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Following MAC recommendation, the Home Office is due to add more Care jobs to the Shortage Occupation list. You can read more about this in our blog here Care workers added to Health and Care Visa – Thaxted Legal.

The below listed care jobs are on the UK Shortage Occupation List from 15/02/2022. This addition is temporary for 12 months, and afterwards the Home Office will review it and decide if this arrangement will continue. For the 12 next months until mid February 2023, care workers and carers from overseas will be able to apply for Health and care visa and move to the UK together with dependant family members (spouse and children under 18). The Health and Care visa offers a path to settlement (permanent residence) in the UK after 5 years continuous residence on work visa.

6145 Care workers and home carers• Care assistant
• Care worker
• Carer
• Home care assistant
• Home carer
• Support worker (nursing home)

If you want to find out more about costs of different Skilled worker visas visit our page with a dedicated visa cost calculator below.

Top tip – shortage occupation are not the only jobs in demand in the UK

There are jobs that are not listed on the Shortage Occupation but are still in high demand in the UK and there are staff shortages. Those are for example jobs in the construction sector (e.g. painters and decorators, plasterers, bricklayers), butchers, or chefs. If you have experience in those professions, and you receive a job offer from an authorised sponsor employer in the UK, you have knowledge of English language to the Level B1, you may obtain a Skilled Worker visa and come to work in the UK.

What if my job is not on shortage occupation list

If your job is not on the current UK Shortage Occupation list it is not the end of your UK work visa hopes. Any jobs that are skilled to NQF Level 3 (approximate equivalent skill level to High School graduate) that are listed as eligible on the Home Office Appendix Skilled Occupations can qualify for the UK work visa. Of course the required minimum salary has to be paid and you would need to have a Certificate of Sponsorship from the sponsor employer.

Skilled Worker visa and Health & Care visa as a way to settle in the UK

You need to reside in the UK for 5 years continuously on a skilled worker visa in order to qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Settlement. We provide more details on the Skilled Worker ILR requirements on this page. After you receive your ILR you can then (usually after 1 year) you may apply to Naturalise as British citizen and subsequently obtain British passport.

If you require help with obtaining sponsor licence or skilled worker visa get in touch with us or visit one of our dedicated pages.

How to get a sponsor licence. Health and care visa.

Skilled worker visa.

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