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Push For 13 More Trades To Be Added To The UK Shortage List

14th June 2023


The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) who are representing the UK construction industry is advocating for an expansion of the government's Shortage Occupation List in order to address the challenges currently faced by employers in filling vital positions.

They are urging for the inclusion of 13 occupations, such as steel erectors, sheet metal workers, and road construction operatives, in the list to facilitate overseas recruitment. In an updated report submitted to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an advisory body on migration policy, the CLC emphasised that the successful execution of crucial infrastructure projects relies on filling these specific roles (listed at the end of this blog).

According to the report, "The occupations detailed in this document are indispensable to the completion of nationally prioritised projects. By constructing the infrastructure upon which other industries depend, they generate growth opportunities and provide significant public value."

The CLC further acknowledged that the English language proficiency requirements for migrants are a considerable hurdle, hindering potential candidates. The organisation expressed its willingness to collaborate with the government in order to enhance the recruitment process. Following an interim review conducted by the MAC in March, five trades were added to the list, including bricklayers and masons, carpenters and joiners, roofers, roof tilers and slaters, plasterers and dry liners, as well as a general construction and building trades category encompassing roles like fencers, steeplejacks, and builders.

Responding to a fresh call for evidence, the CLC is now urging for the inclusion of these trades and an additional eight in the MAC's final review, which is scheduled for publication in August. Among the new categories, five are classified as skilled worker occupations: steel erectors, sheet metal workers, welding trades, architectural and town planning technicians, and business and related associate professionals.

Additionally, construction industry leaders are advocating for the inclusion of three lower-skilled groups—road construction operatives, mobile machine drivers, and elementary construction occupations—due to the considerable difficulty faced by companies in accessing domestic labour. These supporting roles are deemed essential to the successful completion of construction projects.

The CLC also opposes the proposed elimination of the salary discount benefit for shortage occupations with a going rate above the general salary threshold. The organisation argues that a salary discount should be applicable to all shortage occupations, regardless of the going rate, as they are inherently in short supply. Balancing the need for short-term role fulfilment against the risk of undercutting UK workers is essential, according to the CLC.

Full list of occupations the CLC wants included on the shortage list:

  • Architectural and town planning technicians
  • Bricklayers and masons
  • Business and related associate professionals
  • Carpenters and joiners
  • Construction and building trades
  • Elementary construction occupations (general labourers and ground workers)
  • Mobile machine drivers and operatives (plant operatives and piling rig operatives)
  • Plasterers, dry liners and ceiling fixers
  • Road construction operatives
  • Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Steel erectors
  • Welding trades

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