Covid-19 - Update

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The UK’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL) was amended on 6 October 2019 to incorporate new roles and remove other roles.

In this article, we summarise the main changes and the new additions to list. You can view details here. Employers are being urged to review the new list and consider the impact of the changes on their Tier 2 and international recruitment activity.

For employers looking to sponsor non- skilled EEA workers, several strict requirements apply for the role being recruited. Roles that feature on the SOL however benefit from several exemptions to the requirements, essentially making it easier, quicker and less costly for employers to hire shortage occupation workers.

In the UK skilled jobs usually need to be advertised to enable citizens of the EU/European Economic Area (EEA) and those who already have the right to work in the UK to apply, for twenty-eight days before a worker can be employed on a Tier 2 visa.  However, each year the UK publishes a list of shortage occupations, which employers struggle to fill. Apart from the nurse occupation, Jobs on this list do not need to be advertised before they can be offered to a non-EEA immigrant

The advantages conferred on shortage occupation roles include:

  • Not having to conduct Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)
  • Exemption from the minimum income threshold for settlement
  • Lower visa fees
  • Priority allocation in the event the cap limit is reached

New roles on the Shortage Occupation List

Health occupations:

  • All medical practitioner roles SOC code 2211
  • All Psychologist roles SOC code 2212
  • All veterinarian roles SOC code 2216
  • All medical radiographer roles SOC code 2217
  • All occupational therapist roles SOC code 2222
  • All speech and language therapist roles SOC code 2223
  • All nursing roles SOC code 2231
  • All social worker roles SOC code 2442
  • All paramedic roles SOC code 3213

  Engineering occupations:

  • All civil engineer roles SOC code 2121
  • All mechanical engineer roles SOC code 2122
  • All electrical engineer roles SOC code 2123
  • All electronics engineer roles SOC code 2124
  • All design and development engineer roles SOC code 2126
  • All production and process engineer roles SOC code 2127
  • All engineering professional roles not classified elsewhere SOC code 2129
  • All quality control and planning engineer roles SOC code 2461
  • Welding trades – only high integrity pipe welders within SOC code 5215

Science professionals:

  • All biological scientists and biochemists’ roles SOC code 2112
  • Physical scientists – certain roles in construction, oil and gas SOC code 2113
  • Archaeologists – Social and humanities scientists SOC code 2114

Digital and IT occupations:

  • All IT business analysts, architects and systems designer roles SOC code 2135
  • All Programme and software development roles SOC code 2136
  • All web design and development professional roles SOC code 2137
  • All Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified SOC code 2139

Education occupations:

  • Teachers in the subjects of maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin (secondary education teaching professionals) within SOC code 2314

Business, finance and legal occupations:

  • Bio-informaticians and informaticians within actuaries, economists and statisticians SOC code 2425

Other occupations:

  • All architect roles SOC code 2431
  • All quantity surveyor roles code 2433
  • Skilled chefs – only executive chefs, head chefs, sous chefs and specialist chefs with further restrictions within SOC code 5434

 Artistic and creative occupations:

  • All artists roles SOC code 3411
  • Dancers and choreographers – only skilled classical ballet dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom ballet companies and skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom contemporary dance companies SOC code 3414
  • Musicians – only skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, subprincipals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras SOC code 3415
  • All arts officer, producer and director roles SOC code 3416
  • All graphic designer roles SOC code 3421

Removals from the list

  • Pharmacists, pharmacologists and dental practitioners
  • Management consultants, actuaries, economists and statisticians working in the life assurance, general insurance or health and care sectors.
  • Managers and directors in mining and energy


Do you have a question about the Shortage Occupation List?
Permits2Work are registered with the OISC [Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner] to the highest level, and we are also recognised as an assured sponsor by the UK Border Agency – approved to provide advice and UK immigration services, including audits under the Points Based System.  We pride ourselves on helping companies and individuals with the highest standard of service.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.