When sponsoring a worker for a particular role, employers need to understand how to apply for a sponsor licence and that the worker is sponsored for a job in an eligible standard occupational classification ('SOC') code listed in the Appendix. The SOC codes can be found in the published Immigration Rules Appendix Skilled Occupations and Appendix Shortage Occupation List. In this post, we will take a look at the UK Shortage Occupation List 2023.
What is the Shortage Occupation List?
The Shortage Occupation List shows a list of occupations where there is a shortage of skilled labour in the UK. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) provides recommendations on the jobs to be placed on the Shortage Occupation List. This list is regularly reviewed and updated.
If the job is on the Shortage Occupation List, the full salary threshold does not need to be met. The salary for the job on the Shortage Occupation List must equal or exceed £20,960 per year, £10.75 per hour and 80% of the going rate for the occupation code. The going rate refers to the minimum salary for a particular occupation code.
If the job is on the Shortage Occupation List, it must be confirmed in the Certificate of Sponsorship.
The visa application fee for a Skilled Worker Visa is lower if the job is on the Shortage Occupation List.
Choosing the right SOC code on the Shortage Occupation List
To have a better understanding of the right SOC code for the job, employers can refer to the Office for National Statistics website to have a look at the job descriptions, tasks and entry requirements.
It is important to choose the most appropriate occupation code to avoid any delay or refusal of the worker's visa application. If the Home Office has reasonable grounds to believe that the sponsor has not chosen the correct SOC code or the vacancy is not genuine, this may trigger the Home Office to conduct a sponsor compliance visit on an announced or unannounced basis and may also lead to a sponsor licence being suspended.
UK Shortage Occupation List 2023
The UK Shortage Occupation List 2023 can be found here. The list shows whether the shortage of labour is in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Table 1 is a list of shortage occupations where 80% of the going rate for the occupation code may be paid:
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Health and Care
- 1181 Health services and public health managers and directors
- 1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
- 6146 Senior care workers
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Science/ Engineering
- 2111 Chemical scientists in the nuclear industry
- 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists
- 2113 Physical scientists in the construction-related ground
engineering industry, limited to
- engineering geologist
- 2113 Physical scientists in the oil and gas industry, limited
- 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, limited to archaeologists
- 2121 Civil engineers
- 2122 Mechanical engineers
- 2123 Electrical engineers
- 2124 Electronics engineer
- 2126 Design and development engineer
- 2127 Production and process engineers
- 2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2461 Quality control and planning engineers
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in IT
- 2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers
- 2136 Programmers and software development professionals
- 2137 Web design and development professionals
- 2139 Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified, limited to cyber security specialists
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Professional Services/Medicine/ Other Trades
- 2216 Veterinarians
- 2425 Actuaries, economists and statisticians, limited to
- 2431 Architects
- 3111 Laboratory technicians
- 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.
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Creative Sector
- 3411 Artists
- 3414 Dancers and choreographers – only skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK ballet or contemporary dance companies.The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a UK industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland or Wales).
- 3415 Musicians – only 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 a full member of the Association of British Orchestras.
- 3416 Arts officers, producers and directors
- 3421 Graphic designers
Table 2 refers to health and education occupations where the going rates are based on national pay scales:
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Medicine
- 2211 Medical practitioners
- 2212 Psychologists
- 2213 Pharmacists
- 2217 Medical radiographers – including radiotherapy practitioners/ technologists)
- 2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified
- 2232 Nurses
- 3213 Paramedics
- 6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Therapy
- 2221 Physiotherapists
- 2222 Occupational therapists
- 2223 Speech and language therapists
Shortage Occupation List Jobs in Education/ Professional Services
- 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
The occupation code 6145 Care workers and home carers has been added to the Shortage Occupation List and related job titles include Care assistant, Care worker, Carer, Home care assistant, Home carer and Support worker (nursing home). However, private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Worker applicants.
Types of Sponsor Licence
To sponsor a worker for a role in the Shortage Occupation List or Appendix Skilled Occupations, the employer will need to have a sponsor licence for the relevant route. Further details on the relevant sponsor licence can be found here:
- Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence: How to Apply For A Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence
- Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence: Global Business Mobility Sponsor Licence Application Guide
- Scale-up Sponsor Licence: Scale-up Sponsor Licence Application Guidance
- Health & Care Worker Sponsor Licence: Apply for a Health & Care Worker Sponsor Licence
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.