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Five trades join ‘eased’ work visa list

The decision to allow in five more lowly-paid trades was revealed in the Budget as a measure to help employers plug the skills gap.

Those trades given emergency dispensation include bricklayers, roofers, carpenters, and plasters.

But firms seeking to hire steel erectors, scaffolders and plant operators will have to wait for the full Migration Advisory Service’s SOL review for a verdict when it concludes in the autumn.

A consortium of trade and professional bodies has been strenuously lobbying the MAC on the industry skills gaps and shortages.

Now included in SOL visa list
Bricklayers and masons
Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
Carpenters and joiners
Construction and building trades n.e.c.*
Awaiting full review decision
Steel erectors
Scaffolders, stagers and riggers
Road construction operatives
Ceiling fixers
Mobile machine drivers and operatives n.e.c.
Elementary construction occupations

*The category Construction or Building Trade n.e.c. covers a variety of tasks in the construction, alteration, maintenance and repair of buildings, steeples, industrial chimneys

A spokesman for the Charted Institute of Building, said: “We are pleased that today’s budget states that the government has accepted the MAC interim recommendations to initially add five construction occupations to the Shortage Occupation List.

“The construction industry continues to face numerous skills shortages, resulting from a mixture of lack of new entrants, to skilled professionals reaching retirement age.

“This is why migration continues to be a necessity for construction, helping dampen the harmful effects of having a volatile labour market.

James M. Butcher, Director of Policy at the National Federation of Builders, and the report’s lead author added: “Construction faces a vacancy rate higher than the all-industry average, so it is fair to say we are in a worse position than many other industries.