In an effort to fill job shortages in the UK, migrant workers will be permitted to apply for work visas and receive a discount on fees.
By adding a number of construction-related positions on the shortage occupation list, the Home Office claimed to be “temporarily easing visa restrictions” for certain positions.
This indicates that foreigners who have received training in particular occupations are eligible for work visas and might pay a lower application fee.
According to the agency, the government anticipates that the action will “stimulate development” and “attract new talent” in addition to helping the economy.
- Roof tilers
The announcement follows requests made by a few Tory MPs to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reduce immigration and curtail temporary visa programmes.
The move was supported by Downing Street, which insisted that it did not go against the well-publicized desire of Home Secretary Suella Braverman to cut back on overall immigration levels and reduce the dependency on foreign labour.
Other “construction and building trades not elsewhere classified” have been included, including bricklayers, masons, roofers, roof tilers, slaters, carpenters, joiners and plasterers.
In a scarcity occupation, workers may be compensated at 80% of the going wage.
Under the Government’s points-based immigration system, candidates must still have a sponsored work offer from an employer and meet English language criteria.
The Home Office said that the positions on the shortage occupation list are still being examined.
It follows the plan’s endorsement by the Government’s immigration advisory body, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
The independent body previously warned that after Brexit, the free movement of people would be replaced with a points-based immigration system, which might stunt economic growth and have “zero effect” on creating more British jobs for citizens of the UK.
At the time, business leaders warned that construction might be one of the sectors most negatively impacted by changes to UK immigration laws, as permits would no longer be routinely granted to foreign workers in positions deemed low-skilled by politicians and authorities.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think we’ve always acknowledged that in the short term we will need to flex and use our our Brexit freedoms to enable us to fill short-term occupation numbers.
“Obviously, the shortage occupation list is counted differently to the overall net migration figures.
“Long-term it’s right, as the Home Secretary said. We do want to ensure we have a specially trained domestic workforce.
He said that the Department for Work and Pensions “are doing a lot of work to that end to ensure that those who are inactive or off on long-term sick are being helped back into the workforce to fill some of these gaps”.