JobsUK Scraps Shortage Occupation List, Introducing New Immigration Salary List With Fewer...

UK Scraps Shortage Occupation List, Introducing New Immigration Salary List With Fewer Jobs

The UK government recently announced plans to scrap the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and introduce a new Immigration Salary List (ISL) in its place, with fewer jobs qualifying for easier visa access. This represents a major shift in the country’s immigration policy.

Background on the Shortage Occupation List

The SOL was a list of occupations deemed to be in shortage in the UK. Jobs on the SOL received certain immigration advantages, such as:

  • Lower visa application fees
  • Ability for employers to hire workers at 80% of the going rate, with a minimum salary threshold of £20,960
  • Exemption from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) requiring jobs to be advertised to UK workers first

Here is UK Scraps Shortage Occupation List, Introducing New Immigration Salary List With Fewer Jobs

The list aimed to make it easier for employers to recruit foreign workers to fill shortages. It was regularly reviewed and updated by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent public body that advises the government on immigration. Over the years, the SOL came to include a variety of jobs across sectors like health and social care, construction, engineering, IT, and more.

Decision to Scrap the SOL

In October 2023, the MAC published a major report recommending that the government abolish the SOL altogether. The committee raised several concerns about the list, including:

  • Making it easier to hire low-wage migrant workers may increase exploitation risks
  • Low-paid migrant roles could create a net fiscal cost for the UK
  • The high administrative burden makes the scheme uneconomical for many employers
  • The SOL has a relatively minor role in the immigration system now

Instead, the MAC suggested shifting to reviews of individual occupations and sectors facing critical shortages. This would examine aspects like pay, training investments, and technology to develop sustainable solutions.

New Immigration Salary List

In December 2023, Home Secretary James Cleverly announced plans to scrap the SOL and replace it with a new Immigration Salary List (ISL) in early 2024.

Nursing Abroad happy woman on the phone looks for a job

The key changes include:

  • Abolishing the 20% below market rate salary discount for shortage occupations
  • Setting a higher general salary threshold for skilled worker visas, from £26,200 to £38,700
  • Charging the MAC to advise which occupations should retain a salary discount to qualify for easier visa access

So while a route will remain for certain jobs, it will likely cover far fewer roles and lack the generous salary discounts of the past.

Implications Across Sectors

The scrapping of the SOL and introduction of the stricter ISL will have varying impacts on different industries:

Health and Social Care

Health roles will be exempt from the higher £38,700 minimum salary threshold. However, care workers and senior care workers will lose the right to bring dependents when immigrating for work from March 2024. This could hamper recruitment for a sector facing severe staff shortages.

Hospitality and Tourism

These industries rely heavily on lower-paid migrant labor. The salary threshold increase will likely worsen existing shortages and hinder post-pandemic recovery.

Construction and Manufacturing

With manual trades roles unlikely to qualify for the ISL, hiring foreign workers will become much more difficult. This could stall projects and growth when there is huge demand for new housing.

Financial and Professional Services

Higher-paying occupations like banking and law are expected to be largely unaffected by the changes. But some junior roles could struggle to meet the higher salary requirements.

Technology and Startups

Fast-growing tech companies often utilize migrant talent to fill skills gaps while offering lower salaries in return for equity. These innovative firms may suffer under the new rules.

Moving Forward

The UK government believes reducing reliance on foreign labor will spur more domestic recruitment and training, higher wages, and better working conditions. However, the impact may also be severe shortages across multiple sectors, inflating costs for business and consumers. Much remains uncertain about the new Immigration Salary List and how many jobs will qualify when it replaces the SOL in 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about the UK scrapping the shortage occupation list:

What is the shortage occupation list (SOL)?

The SOL was a list of jobs deemed to be in shortage in the UK. Occupations on the list received certain immigration advantages under the rules.

Why is the UK scrapping the SOL?

An independent advisory committee recommended abolishing the SOL over concerns it could exploit migrant workers and create a net fiscal cost. The government is replacing it with a stricter Immigration Salary List.

What will replace the shortage occupation list?

The new Immigration Salary List will likely cover fewer occupations and lack the generous below-market salary discounts of the past SOL.

How will this impact health and social care jobs?

Health roles will be exempt from salary threshold increases, but care workers will lose rights to bring dependents when immigrating for work.

What other industries will be affected most?

Hospitality, construction, manufacturing, and technology startups are expected to struggle under the new immigration rules.

Nursing Abroad Career Student Working Indoor GettyImages 1015029898

When will the shortage occupation list be scrapped?

The Home Secretary announced plans to scrap the SOL and introduce the Immigration Salary List in early 2024.

Could there be exemptions or additions to the new list?

Potentially, if the Migration Advisory Committee advises that certain occupations should retain easier visa access due to shortage levels.

Will UK employers increase wages to attract workers?

The government hopes employers will increase pay and improve working standards to recruit more UK-based staff. But this could also increase costs.


The UK’s decision to scrap the Shortage Occupation List represents a major shift towards more restrictive immigration policies. The new Immigration Salary List will make hiring foreign workers far more difficult across various sectors.

While the full impact remains uncertain, businesses are bracing for severe hiring challenges, inflated costs, and hampered growth. For migrants, fewer opportunities and tighter restrictions await in 2024 as the UK prioritizes shrinking net migration over plugging critical labor shortages.

Read Related Articles:

UK Caps NHS Jobs for Overseas Nurses

New Rules Make Hiring Foreign Nurses More Difficult

Nurses Face Tougher Visa Rules in 2024

Salary Thresholds Increased for Skilled Nurses

Shortage Occupation List Scrapped, Hurting Nurse Recruitment

Leave a Reply



Latest News

Latest News

error: Content is protected !!