Full list of UK jobs that could be affected by Rishi Sunak's new immigration rules

The government has announced a radical overhaul of UK visa rules in an attempt to lower immigration.

Rishi Sunak has said the time has come to
Rishi Sunak has said the time has come to "get control of immigration once and for all". (Alamy)

The government has announced radical plans to shake up the UK job industry in an effort to lower net migration.

Home secretary James Cleverly unveiled a number of measures on Monday aimed at curbing immigration, which he said was "far too high".

The measures, to be introduced in spring 2024, include a "crackdown" on cheaper overseas labour, meaning an overhaul of the Shortage Occupation List, the rundown of jobs in the UK where there is a lack of skilled workers.

Currently, if a job is on the list, companies are able to pay workers just 80% of the occupation's going rate to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa.

Watch: Home secretary announces new migration measures

But the government wants to end this practice, as well as scrap the Shortage Occupation List entirely and replace it with a new "Immigration Salary List", which would have a reduced number of jobs.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration - the difference between people coming into the country and those leaving - was at a record 745,000 in 2022.

The figure for the year to June 2023 is estimated to have been slightly lower, at 672,000.

The home secretary said the new measures would mean 300,000 people who were eligible to come to the UK last year would no longer be able to do so in future.

What is the Shortage Occupation List?

The list is made up of those jobs deemed by the government to be in short supply within the UK labour market.

This means these roles are afforded more relaxed eligibility criteria for sponsored work visa applications.

What kind of jobs are on the Shortage Occupation List?

The list is made up of two tables, one covering healthcare and education (where the salary for the job must be at least the national pay scale rate) and another more general list, where employers can pay 20% less than the going rate salary.

The healthcare and education list includes roles such as medical practitioners, psychologists, pharmacists, radiographers, speech therapists, nurses, teachers, social workers and paramedics.

The other lists contains jobs such as scientists, engineers, vets, IT professionals, architects, dancers and choreographers, musicians, welders, bricklayers, roofers, carpenters and plasterers.

Search the list in full

What measures has the government introduced?

The government plans to end the practice of 20% salary discounts for jobs where labour is scare and overhaul the Shortage Occupation List completely.

In a statement published on Monday, it said: "To crack down on cut-price labour from overseas, the government will end the 20% going rate salary discount for shortage occupations and replace the Shortage Occupation List with a new Immigration Salary List."

The government said this list "will retain a general threshold discount".

However, it said the Migration Advisory Committee will "review the new list against the increased salary thresholds in order to reduce the number of occupations on the list".

Home Secretary James Cleverly during an event to mark the agreement of the Online Fraud Charter, which is a collective agreement to take action to prevent fraud happening online, at Lancaster House in London. Picture date: Thursday November 30, 2023.
Home secretary James Cleverly has announced a range of measures to curb immigration. (Alamy)

What are the increased salary thresholds?

Cleverly announced that, from next spring, a skilled worker from overseas will be required to earn £38,700 to qualify for a visa, up from the current level of £26,200.

The government said those coming into the UK using the "Health and Care visa route" will be exempt from the increase to the salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas.

What other measures did the government announce?

Cleverly said UK citizens must also be earning at least £38,700 to sponsor foreign family members wishing to gain a visa, up from £18,600.

The change to family sponsorship is expected to cut the total of migrants by about 10,000 a year.

Overseas care workers will be stopped from bringing dependants.

Hard working bricklayer lays bricks on cement mix on construction site. Fight housing crisis by building more affordable houses concept
Bricklayer is one of the jobs on the UK's Shortage Occupation List. (Alamy)

How does the points-based immigration system work?

Generally, an applicant will require 70 points on the immigration system to get a visa. Of those points, 50 would come from having a job offer above a minimum skill level and speaking English.

The other 20 would come from exceeding the salary threshold or the “going rate” for the job, whichever is higher.

Even if that salary threshold is not met, extra points can be earned for having a relevant science, technology, engineering or maths PhD.

For shortage occupations, the salary threshold is lowered because of the need to address a lack of workers.

File photo dated 03/10/14 of staff on a NHS hospital ward. There is a growing number of nursing staff who are expressing suicidal thoughts, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The college is calling for greater investment in support services to tackle the
The government said those coming into the country on a Health and Care Worker Visa would be exempt from the rise in salary thresholds. (PA)

What criticism has been made of the new visa rules?

Professor Brian Bell, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, said some industries could struggle with recruitment because of the government’s new visa rules.

Speaking on Times Radio, he said: “I think we’re going to see quite a lot of what you might describe as middle-skilled jobs that are going to struggle.

“Social care will still be allowed to employ people at lower wages, the big change is workers won’t be able to bring their dependants with them, and that’s a fundamental change.”

Joyce Pinfield, vice-chair of the National Care Association, said the government’s new visa rules could have a “significant” impact on the care industry.

Speaking on LBC Radio, she said: “For many years we have had a crisis in being able to get good quality staff, so it has been a great relief that we have been able to be bringing in people from abroad.

“Unfortunately, we just cannot find enough people in the domestic market who are willing to work in this sector, mostly because it’s such low pay."

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