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Shortage Occupation List 2021

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The UK’s Shortage Occupation List can be a source of much confusion for employers sponsoring visa workers, particularly when hiring under a sponsorship licence for the first time or recruiting for a different type of role.

It is important however for employers, HR professionals and anyone involved in your organisation’s overseas recruitment to understand the rules and application of the UK’s skills shortage list. Issues or errors when hiring sponsored workers can result in Home Office enforcement, including licence suspensions and curtailed employee visas.

 

What is the UK’s Shortage Occupation List?

The shortage occupation list is detailed in Appendix Shortage Occupation List of the UK Immigration Rules. It comprises those roles deemed by the UK Government to be in short supply within the UK resident labour market. Recommendations for roles to be included are made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) with a view to meeting the needs of UK businesses and better reflecting the selective nature of the UK Points Based System and sponsored visa applications.

Under the new points-based immigration system, most non-UK resident workers must apply for a visa to come to the UK to work. The primary route is the new Skilled Worker visa, which replaces the Tier 2 (General) visa.

For employers looking to sponsor skilled non-UK resident workers, a number of strict requirements apply in respect of the role being recruited for. To be eligible for the new visa, the worker must attain 70 points, covering attributes such as skills, language and salary requirements.

Where a role is on the Shortage Occupation List, 20 points will be ‘tradeable’ against a salary that is up to 20% below the relevant minimum salary threshold, in most cases £20,480, provided the role is not an occupation subject to national pay scales and that no other reduction applies (such as being a new entrant or having a relevant PhD).

The new system also sees the removal of the Resident Labour Market, which SOL jobs had in any case been exempt from, and the cap on skilled visa worker suspended, meaning the sole benefit of a role featuring on the shortage list will be the lower salary threshold.

 

UK Shortage Occupation List 2021

The Shortage Occupation List was last updated by the Government on 4 March 2021, with changes including adding new roles in healthcare, removing chefs and broadening some language teacher roles.

The tables refer to Standard Occupational Classification Codes (SOC) codes to identify eligible roles under the Skilled Worker visa route.

Table 1: Shortage occupations where applicants for entry clearance or permission to stay may be paid 80% of the going rate for the occupation code:

 

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and description Job titles included on the Shortage Occupation List and further criteria
1181 Health services and public health managers and directors All jobs in this occupation code
1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors All jobs in this occupation code
2112 Biological scientists and biochemists All jobs in this occupation code
2113 Physical Scientists Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

The following jobs in the construction-related ground engineering industry:

• engineering geologist
• hydrogeologist
• geophysicist

The following jobs in the oil and gas industry:

• geophysicist
• geoscientist
• geologist
• geochemist
• technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
• senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector

2114 Social and Humanities’ Scientists Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

  • Archaeologists
2121 Civil engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2122 Mechanical engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2123 Electrical engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2124 Electronics Engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2126 Design and development engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2127 Production and process engineers All jobs in this occupation code
2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified All jobs in this occupation code
2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers All jobs in this occupation code
2136 Programmers and software development professionals All jobs in this occupation code
2137 Web design and development professionals All jobs in this occupation code
2139 Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified Only the following job in this occupation code:

• Cyber security specialist

2211 Medical practitioners All jobs in this occupation code
2212 Psychologists All jobs in this occupation code
2216 Veterinarians All jobs in this occupation code
2217 Medical Radiographers All jobs in this occupation code
2222 Occupational therapists All jobs in this occupation code
2223 Speech and language therapists All jobs in this occupation code
2231 Nurses All jobs in this occupation code
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

• secondary education teachers in the subjects of maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin

2425 Actuaries, economists and statisticians Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

• bio-informatician
• informatician

2431 Architects All jobs in this occupation code
2433 Quantity surveyors All jobs in this occupation code
2442 Social workers All jobs in this occupation code
2461 Quality control and planning engineers All jobs in this occupation code
3111 Laboratory technicians All jobs in this occupation code
3213 Paramedics All jobs in this occupation code
3411 Artist All jobs in this occupation code
3414 Dancers and choreographers Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

• Skilled classical ballet dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom ballet companies. The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a United Kingdom industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland and/or Wales)
• Skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom contemporary dance companies. The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a United Kingdom industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland and/or Wales)

3415 Musicians Only the following jobs in this occupation code:

• skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras. The orchestra must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by the Association of British Orchestras.

3416 Arts officers, producers and directors All jobs in this occupation code
3421 Graphic designers All jobs in this occupation code
5215 Welding trades Only high integrity pipe welders, where the job requires 3 or more years’ related on-the-job experience. This experience must not have been gained through working illegally.
6146 Senior care workers All jobs in this occupation code
9119 Fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations not elsewhere classified Only the listed job titles are eligible in this occupation code:

• Vent chick sexer

• Deckhand on large fishing vessel (9 metres and above)

and only where the job requires the worker to have at least 3 years’ full-time experience in using their skills. This experience must not have been gained through working illegally.

 

Table 2: Shortage occupations in eligible health and education occupation codes where going rates are based on national pay scales:

 

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and description Job titles included on the Shortage Occupation List and further criteria
2211 Medical practitioners All jobs in this occupation code
2212 Psychologists All jobs in this occupation code
2213 Pharmacists All jobs in this occupation code
2217 Medical radiographers All jobs in this occupation code (including radiotherapy practitioners / technologists)
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified All jobs in this occupation code
2221 Physiotherapists All jobs in this occupation code
2222 Occupational therapists All jobs in this occupation code
2223 Speech and language therapists All jobs in this occupation code
2231 Nurses All jobs in this occupation code
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals Only teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and modern foreign languages
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals Only teachers in Gaelic
2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals Only Gaelic medium teachers
2442 Social workers All jobs in this occupation code
3213 Paramedics All jobs in this occupation code
6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants All jobs in this occupation code

 

Do you have a question about the Shortage Occupation List? 

DavidsonMorris specialises in helping employers navigate the UK immigration rules to meet their recruitment needs. For advice on the shortage occupation list, its implications on your recruitment processes, visa eligibility, assigning SOC codes or any issue relating to hiring points-based visa workers, contact us.

 

Shortage Occupation List FAQs

What is shortage occupation list?

The UK Government maintains a list of occupations which are deemed to be of short supply in the UK. Employers are allowed to hire and sponsor overseas workers in these roles under more favourable criteria than for roles that are not on the list.

What are the shortage occupations in the UK?

The full list is under Appendix Shortage Occupation List on the Home Office website. The list was last amended on 4 March 2021. Changes included adding more healthcare professions and removing chefs.

What is SOL list?

The SOL list is the UK's Shortage Occupation List, which is referred to when sponsoring overseas workers in skilled roles.

The current shortage occupation list can be viewed here. 

Last updated: 5 March 2021

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