UK eases visa regulations to attract overseas construction workers

Britain has expanded its “shortage occupation list” to include several construction roles in response to labor shortages in the industry.

This adjustment enables the building sector to facilitate the recruitment of foreign staff more efficiently.

Bricklayers, masons, roofers, roof tilers, slaters, carpenters, joiners and plasterers will benefit from cheaper visas and more relaxed employment requirements under the changes.

Certain sectors in Britain are experiencing severe labor shortages, prompting employers to actively seek workers from overseas to address the staffing gaps.

However, this situation presents a political challenge for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party, as they have made pledges over the past decade to reduce net migration, creating a dilemma in balancing labor needs with their migration goals.

The interior ministry on Monday said that adding the new roles would “aid the delivery of key national infrastructure and stimulate growth for related industries.”

In March, the independent Migration Advisory Committee recommended the inclusion of construction jobs in the shortage occupation list, which already encompasses occupations such as care workers, civil engineers, laboratory technicians, and various healthcare roles.

Data released in May indicated that net migration to Britain reached a record high of 606,000 last year.

According to the government statement, individuals employed in a shortage occupation can be remunerated at 80% of the customary rate for that job and still be eligible for a visa. To qualify, applicants must have a job offer from an employer and meet the English language proficiency requirement.

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