Britain has recently taken steps to attract foreign construction workers by making amendments to its ‘shortage occupation list’. This move allows the construction industry to recruit staff from overseas more easily, addressing the pressing issue of vacant positions within the sector.
The decision to expand the shortage occupation list comes in response to acute labour shortages experienced in certain sectors, leading employers to seek skilled workers from abroad. However, this move has also presented political challenges for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, which has been committed to reducing net migration over the past decade.
Several construction roles, including bricklayers, masons, roofers, roof tilers, slaters, carpenters, joiners, and plasterers, have been included in the updated list. These professionals will now benefit from more accessible and cost-effective visa options, as well as relaxed employment criteria.
The UK’s interior ministry stated that the addition of these construction roles aims to support the development of critical national infrastructure and promote growth in related industries.
The migration advisory committee, an independent body, had earlier recommended the inclusion of these construction jobs in the shortage occupation list. This list already covers occupations like care workers, civil engineers, laboratory technicians, and various roles in the healthcare sector.
Last year, Britain witnessed a record high of 606,000 net migration, leading to renewed promises from Sunak’s government to control the number of arrivals.
Workers in roles listed under the shortage occupation category can now receive 80 per cent of the usual job rate and still qualify for a visa, subject to meeting an English language requirement and obtaining a job offer from a UK employer.