Bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, hospitality workers from abroad may be allowed to work in UK: Report
Thursday 9 March 2023 7:33 AM UTC
LONDON March 9: The UK government is planning to tackle chronic shortages in the labour market by opening its doors to more foreign workers, starting with looser rules for the construction sector.
Reports say that the government has quietly been clearing the way for more overseas workers to come to the UK as it searches for ways to boost growth.
The process will start in the construction sector, with the adding of key jobs to the government’s “shortage occupation list”, people close to the discussions say, according to Financial Times.
The FT report says that the government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that bricklayers, roofers, carpenters, plasterers and people working in the construction trade generally should be among those added to the list.
Meanwhile, The Sunday Times and The Guardian have reported that, of several sectors being looked at, hospitality workers were “the most likely to be put on the list”, which could be confirmed “within weeks”. The report said that ministers have reportedly asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) for advice on whether hospitality job roles should be included on the shortage occupation list, which would make it easier for businesses to recruit from abroad.
Suella Braverman, home secretary, is expected to accept the recommendation and the MAC is set to publish its report next week, possibly straight after chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget, government insiders said, Financial Times reported.
The shortage occupation list allows employers to bring in key staff on a lower salary threshold of £20,480, compared with the current “skilled worker” salary threshold of £25,600, or at 80 per cent of the going rate for the occupation — whichever is higher. There are also reduced visa fees.
According to Bloomberg report, a person familiar with the matter, has told them that the Migration Advisory Committee, which advises the government on immigration, has recommended that tradespeople including carpenters, bricklayers and roofers should be added to the “shortage occupation list,”
The list allows employers to bring in foreign workers on a lower salary threshold than the usual “skilled worker” level and pay lower visa fees. Ministers are weighing up the proposals from the committee, according to the person, said the report.
The move, first reported by the Financial Times late Wednesday, risks sparking controversy in the ruling Conservative Party so soon after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared a crackdown on illegal migration.
Current jobs on the shortage occupation list include health and care workers, civil engineers, vets and architects.
However, there is no official confirmation from the Migration Advisory Committee in regards to a final decision on which occupations they will or not add on the shortage occupation list.
On 27th February 2023, the Migration Advisory Committee has published a policy paper calling for evidence to hear organisations’ views on the roles that are being filled by migrant workers, the salaries they are paid and implications of potential changes.
Alongwith other aspects of a migrant worker’s rules, it has asked organisations and individuals to reply by 26 May 2023, to which occupations on the current shortage occupation list should continue to be included and which should be removed.
The MAC offers independent advice to the Home Office on immigration policy and produces reports on whether certain occupations should or shouldn’t be given some special dispensations to make it easier for employers to access migrant labour to fill vacancies.
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