UK Shortage Occupation List: What Does It Mean?

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shortage occupation list uk

The UK is experiencing shortages of skilled workers across many parts of the economy. The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) is used by the UK Government to relax work visa requirements for certain professions, making it easier for employers to recruit overseas workers for these roles.

Applicants with a job offer from a licensed UK employer in one of the occupations on the SOL, and who meet all other relevant visa requirements, can apply for a Skilled Worker visa, or a Health and Care Worker visa.

Roles on the SOL are subject to lower salary thresholds of 80% of the going rate, and the UK visa application fees are also lower.

In this guide, we detail which roles are on the Shortage Occupation List and what the list means if you are applying for a points-based sponsored work visa in the UK.

 

Skilled worker visa shortage occupation list

Occupation code

Job types included on the shortage occupations list

Areas of the UK where there is a shortage

Annual salary (80% of going rate)

1181 Health services and public health managers and directors – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £30,720 (£15.15 per hour)
1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £21,360 (£10.53 per hour)
2111 Chemical scientists – only jobs in the nuclear industry Scotland only 80% of going rate: £21,360(£10.53 per hour)
2112 Biological scientists and biochemists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £23,760(£11.72 per hour)
2113 Physical scientists – only the following jobs in the construction-related ground engineering industry:
engineering geologist
hydrogeologist
geophysicist
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £29,200(£14.40 per hour)
2113 Physical scientists – only the following jobs in the oil and gas industry:
geophysicist
geoscientist
geologist
geochemist
technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £29,200(£14.40 per hour)
2114 Social and humanities scientists – only archaeologists England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £20,720(£10.22 per hour)
2121 Civil engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £28,000(£13.81 per hour)
2122 Mechanical engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,720(£13.18 per hour)
2123 Electrical engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £29,600(£14.60 per hour)
2124 Electronics engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £27,760(£13.69 per hour)
2126 Design and development engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £27,280(£13.45 per hour)
2127 Production and process engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,480(£13.06 per hour)
2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,160(£12.90 per hour)
2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £29,280(£14.44 per hour)
2136 Programmers and software development professionals – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,640(£13.14 per hour)
2137 Web design and development professionals – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £20,800(£10.26 per hour)
2139 Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified – only cyber security specialists England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £25,440(£12.54 per hour)
2216 Veterinarians – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,000(£12.82 per hour)
2425 Actuaries, economists and statisticians – only bio-informaticians and informaticians England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £26,240(£12.94 per hour)
2431 Architects – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £28,000(£13.81 per hour)
2461 Quality control and planning engineers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £24,400(£12.03 per hour)
3111 Laboratory technicians – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £14,560 (£7.18 per hour)
3411 Artists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £16,800(£8.28 per hour)
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).
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £23,840(£11.76 per hour)
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 a full member of the Association of British Orchestras.
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £22,000 (£10.85 per hour)
3416 Arts officers, producers and directors – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £24,000(£11.83 per hour)
3421 Graphic designers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £18,800(£9.27 per hour)
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 illegal working. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £18,240(£8.99 per hour)
6145 Care workers and home carers – private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Worker applicants England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland No going rate – the salary must be at least £20,480 per year or £10.10 per hour
6146 Senior care workers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland 80% of going rate: £13,520 (£6.67 per hour)

 

Skilled worker visa shortage occupation list for healthcare & education roles

Roles in healthcare and education are subject to a separate list, as follows:

Occupation code

 

Job types included on the shortage occupations list

Areas of the UK where there is a shortage

2211 Medical practitioners – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2212 Psychologists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2213 Pharmacists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2217 Medical radiographers – all jobs (including radiotherapy practitioners / technologists) England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2219 Health professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2221 Physiotherapists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2222 Occupational therapists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2223 Speech and language therapists – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2231 Nurses – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
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 England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2314 Secondary education teaching professionals – only teachers in Gaelic Scotland only
2315 Primary and nursery education teaching professionals – only Gaelic medium teachers Scotland only
2442 Social workers – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
3213 Paramedics – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistants – all jobs England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

 

 

Skilled Worker visa requirements

To qualify for a Skilled Worker visa, candidates must earn 70 points on the UK visa points test. The table below states how points are assigned for the Skilled Worker visa category.

 

Characteristics

Mandatory/Tradeable

Points

Offer of job by approved sponsor Mandatory 20
Job at appropriate skill level Mandatory 20
Speaks English at required level Mandatory 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Tradeable 20
Applicant is a new entrant to the labour market (as designated by the MAC) Tradeable 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Tradeable 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Tradeable 20

 

Job offer

Applicants must have a job offer from an employer with a valid sponsor licence. Roles that are not on the Shortage Occupation List may still be eligible for the Skilled Worker or Health and Care Worker visas if they are on the Home Office’s eligible occupations list.

The ONS has an online tool which can be used to verify the occupation code for the role being recruited.

 

Certificate of Sponsorship

The employer has to assign a Certificate of Sponsorship to the visa applicant in order to sponsor them.

 

Going rate & salary threshold

For roles that are currently on the Shortage Occupation List, individuals become eligible for the Skilled Worker visa if their salary is at least 80% of the occupation’s going rate. Levels are based on annual salaries for a 39-hour working week. The role must be for at least 30 hours per week. Pro rata calculations based on weekly working hours should be used for other working patterns.

The “new entrant” income rate applies to those on student visas in the UK who are transferring to a Skilled Worker visa, as well as those under 26 years old. The minimum annual pay, based on a 39-hour work week (in most situations) excluding breaks, must be at least £20,480 or 30% less than the going rate for a skilled worker visa, whichever is greater.

 

English language

Applicants must meet one of the following:

  • Hold a degree equivalent to or higher to a UK Bachelor’s degree, which was taught or researched in English (UK NARIC evaluation required if not taught in a majority English speaking country).
  • Have passed an English language test certified by UKVI with a minimum score of B1 on the Council of Europe’s standard European framework for language and learning.
  • Have successfully satisfied the English Language requirement during a previous grant of leave in the UK.
  • Be a citizen of an English-speaking majority nation, as follows:

 

English speaking majority nations

Antigua and Barbuda Australia The Bahamas Barbados Belize Canada Dominica
Grenada Guyana Jamaica New Zealand St Kitts and Nevis St Lucia St Vincent and the Grenadines

 

Financial requirement

Applicants who already have UK entrance clearance, permission to enter, or permission to remain under a Skilled Worker visa are exempt from the financial requirement.

The majority of Skilled Worker sponsors support the potential employee in meeting the financial requirement by guaranteeing they will fund the applicant’s maintenance and housing for the first month of working in the United Kingdom. The guarantee should be stated on the Certificate of Sponsorship. This option is only available to sponsors with an A rating.

If the employer does not provide a guarantee for the financial requirement, the applicant has to evidence they have personal funds of at least £1,270 and have had these funds continuously for 28 days ending no more than 31 days prior to the date of the application. Proof can be provided using bank statements or other relevant documents.

 

Shortage Occupation List FAQs

What is a shortage occupation list?

The shortage occupation list is made up of those roles deemed by the UK Government to have shortages in labour within the UK economy. Roles on the list benefit from more relaxed visa eligibility criteria and lower Home Office application fees for employers trying to recruit for these roles from the overseas labour market.

What jobs are in shortage in the UK?

The UK's Shortage Occupation List states which jobs in the UK are currently experiencing a shortage of workers.

How do I apply for a shortage occupation list UK?

To apply for a 'shortage occupation list' role, you must apply for a Skilled Worker visa, which requires you to have a job offer from a licensed UK employer and meet the visa points requirement.

 

Legal disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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