From 7 August 2023:
- The Shortage Occupation List (SOL) will be updated to include certain construction and fishing roles. The SOL is a list of roles in the UK where labour is in short supply and concessions are made to the usual requirements for skilled workers. In line with this, ‘dry liners’ are being reclassified as ‘plasterers’, enabling people who do drylining to qualify for sponsorship.
- Skilled Worker permission will be granted to GPs in specialty training until 4 months after the end date of their Certificate of Sponsorship (instead of the usual 14 days), allowing GPs additional time in the UK to find employment with a licensed sponsor.
- An extension of the Ukrainian schemes allowing those with permission to extend their stay for a further 3 years. The deadline for applying under the scheme has also been extended to 16 May 2024.
- A requirement of genuineness will be added to Global Business Mobility (GBM), Scale-up and Temporary Worker routes so that applicants must genuinely intend to take up sponsored work and not work in breach of their conditions.
- New Zealand nationals in the UK under the Youth Mobility Scheme can stay in the UK for up to 3 years (rather than the standard 2 years under this scheme).
What do these changes mean for employees?
SOL change means that:
- While the addition of construction and fishing occupations does mean that people who are sponsored for these roles can be paid less (which isn’t particularly attractive for sponsored employees), it does mean that more roles are available for sponsorship under the Skilled Worker route. Applicants for a role on the SOL will also benefit from lower visa application fees.
- Support is provided to the fishing industry to be fully compliant with the immigration system.
GBM, Scale-up and Temporary Worker routes mean that:
Employees undertaking temporary work in the UK under these routes must genuinely intend to undertake their sponsored job, and (save for the Scale-up route) not intend to work in breach of their conditions.
What do these changes mean for employers/sponsors?
The new test of ‘genuineness’ on the face of it seems straightforward. This mirrors the sponsors’ requirements to only engage people in genuine vacancies. While the change introduces new requirements for sponsored workers, it is more important for sponsors to retain evidence of the skills, experience and qualifications of a skilled worker visa applicant should the genuineness of their intentions be questioned.
To keep up to date with the changes and when these will take effect, take a look at our article here.
If you would like to discuss these changes or require bespoke immigration advice, get in touch with our team of expert immigration lawyers.