UK immigration rules relaxed to tackle  shortage of workers

The UK government is contemplating the possibility of allowing foreign workers with salaries below the standard "skilled worker" level to be employed.


Amid worries that simply encouraging British citizens to return to work won’t suffice to fill the gaps, the UK government is working to develop strategies to relax immigration regulations in order to address long-standing shortages in the construction sector.

A person familiar with the issue stated that the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended to the UK government to add tradespeople, including carpenters, bricklayers, and roofers, to the list of shortage occupations.

The committee’s recommendations are being considered by government officials, who are contemplating the possibility of allowing foreign workers with salaries below the standard “skilled worker” level to be employed while also being subject to reduced visa fees.

As per a report on March 8, 2023, by the Financial Times, the proposed step may stir up a hornet’s nest within the Conservative Party, especially as Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister of the UK, recently declared a crackdown on illegal migration.

While Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, is expected to introduce measures in his March 15 budget to motivate economically inactive individuals to return to work, the government is of the opinion that targeted immigration in critical sectors is now necessary.

Health and care workers, civil engineers, vets, and architects are some roles that are included in the current shortage occupation list.

The government is going to collaborate closely with the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to ensure that the points-based system is beneficial for the UK and serves the economy’s best interests.  The aim of this measure  is to prioritise the necessary skills and talent, as well as promote long-term investment in the local workforce, said the government spokesperson in an email.

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