On 07 February 2023 the Home Secretary requested the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to deliver an expediated review of occupations in the construction and hospitality sectors, recommending the addition of eligible occupations to the shortage Occupation List (SOL) and RQF 1 & 2 occupations to the Skilled Worker route where appropriate. The MAC were asked to provide these recommendations within a relatively short timeframe of 4 weeks.
The MAC has published its report into labour shortages in the construction and hospitality sectors with its recommendation for the sectors having engaged with key stakeholders. Notably, the recommendations are interim recommendations pending the completion of the full SOL review which the MAC is expected to carry out SOL in June 2023.
The MAC’S interim recommendation, for construction occupation codes to be included on the SOL are listed below;
5312 (Bricklayers and masons)
5313 (Roofers, roof tilers and slaters)
5315 (Carpenters and joiners)
5319 (Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified)
5321 (Plasterers); Dryliners will fall with this code which were previously code 8149 (construction operatives not elsewhere classified)
These changes will be welcomed by the Construction sector. Where an employer previously was considering sponsoring overseas workers in the above roles the salary the minimum salary requirement was £26,200 per annum. The SOL concession will allow employers to offer a minimum salary of £20,960 per year for the above occupations. An additional benefit is that the visa application fee will also be reduced to £479 for a visa up to 3 years (previously £625) and £943 for a visa more than 3 years (previously £1235).
The MAC were not convinced that it would be sensible to fill the shortages of the hospitality sector with migrant workers. It was noted that whilst there was clear evidence that the industry is challenged with a shortage of chefs this was not enough to reverse their recommendation for the removal of Chefs from the SOL in 2020. The MAC highlighted they were receptive to the request for Sommeliers to be categorised as an RQF level 3 job, encouraging stakeholders to provide robust, evidence-based submission for the full SOL review.
The MAC made reference to the following hospitality occupations;
1221 (Hotel and accommodation managers and proprietors)
1223 (Restaurant and catering establishment managers and proprietors)
5436 (Catering and bar manager)
9273 (Waiters and waitresses)
The MAC decided not to recommend any RQF 1-2 occupations for addition to the SOL or Skilled Worker route. The MAC reiterated their argument that expanding the Youth Mobility (YMS) to more counties would be beneficial, and this would in particularly beneficial to the hospitality sector as well as the pool of international students who can work part-time during their studies and those on the graduate route.
We are supporting key industry stakeholders and clients from the construction and hospitality sectors as well as the care sector with their engagement and submission of evidence to the MAC for the full SOL review, so that they can potentially access a wider pool of suitable workers through migration.
Please contact the Employment team, if you wish to participate or require further assistance in understanding how the MAC’s recommendations impact your business or would like advice on employing workers from overseas.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.