Revised Immigration Rules – Building Blocks for Overseas Construction Workers?

Mar 17, 2023

Post-Brexit, industries across the board were rocked to the core. Many overseas workers left the UK, which in turn led to a chronic shortfall in UK workforce. Coupled with Covid and the economic crisis, there is no doubt that times are tough. One industry that has been particularly hard-hit is the Construction Industry.

This week, the government announced plans to relax immigration rules in a bid to attract more overseas construction workers to the UK. Their plans hope to address a labour shortage in the Construction Industry, by enabling overseas construction workers to work on the Skilled Worker Visa route.

To recap very briefly, in August 2022 the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) were tasked by the government to carry out a report into the Shortage Occupation List (‘SOL’) to make it easier for overseas workers to come to the UK and work on Skilled Worker Visas. The SOL includes roles deemed, by the government, to be in short supply within the UK’s labour market. In their interim report, the MAC proposed that many roles in the Construction Industry should be added.

What are the proposed changes?

The government have accepted the MAC’s recommendations, that the following five roles should be added to the SOL:

  • Bricklayers and masons
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Plasterers
  • Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
  • Construction and building trades n.e.c.

Adding these professions to the SOL will allow for companies employing those falling under any one of the above categories to bring in overseas workers on a lower salary level of £20,480 and pay lower government visa fees.

This cost is therefore far less than the usual rates for a skilled worker visa, which is normally £25,600 (to go up to £26,200 effective from 12 April 2023), or the usual going rate for the role. Employers will therefore benefit from reduced salary thresholds and application fees for these workers.

When will the new rules take effect?

The recommendations are pending the completion of the government’s full review. The MAC’s full review of the SOL is expected by the end of the year.  Although not finalised, the government’s acceptance of the recommendations demonstrate a move in the right direction in addressing the shortage of workers within the Construction Industry.

The conclusion of the MAC’s full review is expected by the end of the year. Ultimately, the success of the proposal will depend on the government’s willingness to adopt the recommendations. For now, those in the Construction Industry can begin to prepare for the changes and await the anticipated green light from the government.

How we can help

As immigration lawyers we can advise you on the steps you can take now so you are ready when the changes come into effect then you can take full advantage of these changes.  

If you would like to discuss how your business could benefit from recruitment from the labour market overseas or if you have any other questions in relation to the proposed changes then please contact Usof Shah in our immigration team at or calling 01276 748 387

This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

Usof Shah

Usof Shah

Senior Solicitor, Immigration
t: 01276 748 387

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