Construction roles now added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL)

14th August 2023

New opportunities for the UK construction industry 

The construction sector seems to be consistently dealing with a variety of challenges such as increased material costs, project delays, and safety challenges, all of which can shift the focus from providing a high quality and profitable service. High up on the list of challenges, for a number of years, has been the lack of skilled workers within the UK construction sector. Due to this shortage many sites across the UK are reliant upon an illegal labour supply but this business model is both unethical and unsustainable.

Yes, there needs to be some focus on the development of ‘home grown talent’ but there is a significant shortage now and businesses across the UK need access to an immediate solution.

The Home Office has recognised the skilled worker shortage faced within the construction industry and is encouraging businesses to apply for a sponsor licence. A sponsor licence enables a business to expand its recruitment search across the globe to find the talent needed here in the UK.

However, the obtaining of the licence itself is only the start of what is a fairly complex and ever changing process. With a licence in place an organisation must ensure it complies with all relevant UK legislation and ensure it maintains its sponsor licence duties, this is in addition to managing the sponsorship process for each overseas employee. 

Despite the complexities of the immigration rules, guidance and processes this is a valuable opportunity, strengthened by the fact that the Home Office have recently added a number of construction roles to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).


What is the Shortage Occupation List (SOL)?

The UK’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL) specifies a number of occupations which are deemed to be in short supply within the UK labour market. Occupations listed upon the SOL benefit from relaxed rules, reduced fees and lower minimum salary thresholds, making the sponsorship of overseas workers easier and more cost effective. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) offers recommendations for jobs that should be on this list while taking into account the requirements of UK businesses.

The following construction jobs have now been added to the SOL:

  • Plasterers
  • Carpenters
  • Joiners
  • Roofers
  • Roof tilers
  • Slaters
  • Bricklayers
  • Masons
  • Acoustician
  • Fencer

Many other construction roles can also be found in the standard Skilled Worker visa eligible occupation list.

Salary Calculations

A significant part of the sponsorship process is the calculation, payment and reporting of individual salary levels.
The sponsorship regime prevents employers from sponsoring individuals on zero hour contracts, and requires a commitment to minimum contracted hours and salary rates which meet the required thresholds as set out in the immigration rules.
With ‘minimum salary thresholds’ and multiple occupations with associated ‘going rates’ this can be confusing and often leads to refusals for those unaware of how to interpret the salary requirements.
The current minimum salary thresholds for the Skilled Worker route are:

  • £10.75/hour; and
  • £26,200/year; or
  • The ‘going rate’ for the role if it is higher than the minimum figures above.

These thresholds are reduced significantly for those occupations listed on the SOL:

  • £10.75/hour; and
  • £20,960/year; or
  • 80% of the ‘going rate’ for the role if it is higher than the minimum figures above.
Sponsor Licence Application – What you need to know

In order to successfully apply for a sponsor licence, a business must be prepared to submit a number of supporting documents along with the completion of an online application and supporting statement.
Please click on the link below to find out more.


There are other eligible occupations which are listed on the gov website. The only difference being that the occupations listed on the SOL qualify for reduced salary thresholds and reduced visa application fees.

Skilled Worker visa: eligible occupations and codes – GOV.UK (

A CSCS card is not a legislative requirement. It is entirely up to the primary contractor as to whether workers are required to hold a card before they are allowed on site. Sponsored workers can still qualify for a CSCS card but the specifics of each sponsored role and associated worker must be considered at the outset to enable a smooth transition into employment.

Some roles within the construction sector do not require any formal qualifications, for these roles any sponsored workers will not need to evidence any specific qualifications. However, where a formal qualification, certification or regulatory requirement must be in place to lawfully carry out a role in the UK then this must be held by the sponsored worker.

It enables the employment of global talent (the licence is valid for 4 years and can be extended)

You can sponsor as many workers as are required for the business

You can sponsor individuals from overseas or those who are switching from other routes in the UK.

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