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Skilled workers visa changes to the Shortage Occupation list

The latest Migration Advisor Committee (MAC) report of 3 October 2023 proposed the following changes to jobs on the Skilled Worker visa route:

  • no eligible Skilled Worker job should be paid below the “going rate” (the full-time salary rate) – there, to prevent undercutting of salaries to resident workers and the exploitation of migrant workers – this recommendation will result in the removal of many jobs from the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), see below
  • the MAC has proposed removing the SOL and commissioning it to look at individual job and sectors with relevant third parties
  • replacement of the SOL with an “Immigration Salary Discount List”
  • review of the Skilled Worker jobs in the healthcare system due to concerns of underpay and exploitation
  • recommended the addition of 8 jobs in the UK and 2 in Scotland to the SOL, as follows:

UK wide

  • Laboratory technicians
  • Pharmaceutical technicians
  • Bricklayers and masons
  • Roofers, tilers, and slaters
  • Construction and building trades
  • Animal care services
  • Care workers and home carers
  • Senior care workers.


  • Manager and proprietors in forestry, fishing, and related sectors
  • Boat and shipbuilders and repairers.

What does this mean for employers?

The proposed jobs above, if accepted, would be added to the SOL, and hence would make it easier for employers to recruit migrant workers.

However, given the MAC is proposing a fundamental shake up of the SOL and removal of the “going rate” this could result in the removal of the lower thresholds to salary rates for existing jobs on the SOL – in other words a whole section of jobs including health, engineering, IT, architects, construction, nursing, and teaching.

We therefore recommend employers who are considering employing individuals for jobs on the existing SOL that it may be advisable to consider doing this now if possible. We do not know when any changes could come into force but is likely to be early in the New Year and hence could mean an increase the minimum salary thresholds – on top of the recent increases in immigration fees, and the impending one to the Immigration Health Surcharge, would obviously increase the financial requirements for employers looking to recruit migrant workers through the Skilled Worker visa route by leaving it to a later date.

Employers in the healthcare sector should check for possible changes.

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