Demand for Skilled Workers in the UK 2024 – Skilled Occupations List

construction workers in the UK

The UK government has announced upcoming additions of multiple occupations to the Shortage Occupations List. These changes are expected to be introduced before the end of 2023 and will include occupations from the construction and fishing sectors. You will apply through the Skilled Worker visa.

Separately, the Skilled Worker Occupations List contains more job roles which are eligible for the Skilled Worker visa. These occupations are less in demand but employers can still sponsor you to come and live and work in the UK.

The Healthcare and Education Shortage Occupations List is specifically for jobs in the healthcare and education sectors and may require a sperate visa depending on the job role such as the Health and Care Worker visa.

UPDATE – The Immigration Salary List (ISL) replaced the Shortage Occupation List in April 2024.

Shortage Occupations List (SOL)

Jobs on the Shortage Occupations List are more desirable and UK immigration requitements are relaxed to make it easier for skilled workers to work in the UK. Overseas workers only require a salary of 80% of the “Going Rate” making it more financially viable to hire from abroad.

Bricklayers, plasterers and other construction jobs will be added to the Shortage Occupations List in 2023. These jobs will assist with the number of infrastructure and construction project across the United Kingdom.

CodeJob RoleCountryAnnual salary (80% of going rate)
1181Health services and public health managers and directors – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £33,040
1242Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £22,640
2111Chemical scientists – only jobs in the nuclear industryScotland only80% of going rate: £22,800
2112Biological scientists and biochemists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £24,480
2113Physical scientists – only the following jobs in the construction-related ground engineering industry:
engineering geologist
hydrogeologist
geophysicist
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,080
2113Physical scientists – only the following jobs in the oil and gas industry:
geophysicist
geoscientist
geologist
geochemist
technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,080
2114Social and humanities scientists – only archaeologistsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £20,480
2121Civil engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £27,760
2122Mechanical engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,400
2123Electrical engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £31,440
2124Electronics engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £27,120
2126Design and development engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £27,280
2127Production and process engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £25,600
2129Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,720
2135IT business analysts, architects and systems designers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £30,080
2136Programmers and software development professionals – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £27,200
2137Web design and development professionals – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £21,440
2139Information technology and communications professionals not elsewhere classified – only cyber security specialistsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £25,680
2216Veterinarians – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,960
2425Actuaries, economists and statisticians – only bio-informaticians and informaticiansEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,880
2431Architects – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £26,320
2461Quality control and planning engineers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £25,280
3111Laboratory technicians – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £15,120
3411Artists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £16,400
3414Dancers and choreographers – only skilled classical ballet dancers or skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK ballet or contemporary dance companies.
The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a UK industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland or Wales).
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £16,960
3415Musicians – only skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras.
The orchestra must a full member of the Association of British Orchestras.
England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £24,960
3416Arts officers, producers and directors – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £23,360
3421Graphic designers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £18,400
5215Welding trades – only high integrity pipe welders, where the job requires 3 or more years’ related on-the-job experience. This experience must not have been gained through illegal working.England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £18,480
6145Care workers and home carers – private households or individuals (other than sole traders sponsoring someone to work for their business) cannot sponsor Skilled Worker applicantsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern IrelandNo going rate – the salary must be at least £20,960 per year
6146Senior care workers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland80% of going rate: £14,880

Skilled Worker Occupations List

There are more jobs listed on the Skilled Worker Occupations List than any other and covers a wide variety of sectors. Occupations for the most part need to reach the “Going Rate”, but there are exceptions that allow pay between 70-90%. There are 225 occupations currently on this list, you can find the list here.

Exceptions for the Going Rate

  • Occupation is also on the Shortage Occupations List
  • Under 26 and studying or a recent graduate
  • You have achieved a STEM PHD level qualification (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics)
  • You have a postdoctoral position in higher education or science

Healthcare and Education Occupations List

Doctors, nurses, social workers and teaching professionals will find their code through the Healthcare and Education Occupations List. The Health and Care worker visa is currently the most popular way to immigrate to the UK, 101,570 applicants moved here year ending March 2023.

CodeJob RoleCountry
2211Medical practitioners – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2212Psychologists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2213Pharmacists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2217Medical radiographers – all jobs (including radiotherapy practitioners / technologists)England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2219Health professionals not elsewhere classified – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2221Physiotherapists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2222Occupational therapists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2223Speech and language therapists – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2231Nurses – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2314Secondary education teaching professionals – only teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and modern foreign languagesEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
2314Secondary education teaching professionals – only teachers in GaelicScotland only
2315Primary and nursery education teaching professionals – only Gaelic medium teachersScotland only
2442Social workers – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
3213Paramedics – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
6141Nursing auxiliaries and assistants – all jobsEngland, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland

Work Visas that must be on a Occupations List UK

man and woman celebrating being granted a skilled worker visa UK
For UK employers to sponsor skilled workers to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
UK nurses
For the NHS or private employers to sponsor medical professionals to work in the UK. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.
For fast growing companies to sponsor skilled workers to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the Scale-Up occupations list and meet the salary requirements, which is a minimum of £33,000 per year.
Empty UK office space
For UK employers to sponsor international employees to live in the UK full time. You must have a job on the occupations list and meet the salary requirements for your role.

Eligibility Requirements for UK Skilled Work

Eligibility varies depending on your circumstances and the type of visa, but there are some general rules. You will have to be on one of the occupations lists linked to that visa, for example to apply for the Scale-Up visa it must on the Scale-Up Occupations List.

You must work for an employer that has been approved for a sponsor license.

Salary must meet a minimum threshold for that job role.

Pass an English language test.

How to Apply for Skilled Work in the UK?

Once you know you are eligible and have a good chance of obtaining your chosen visa, it is time to gather your documents. Documentation varies depending on your circumstances and the type of visa, but like there are some general rules.

Acquire a valid certificate of sponsorship related to the role from your employer.

Proof that you have passed an English language test from IELTS. You will be required to achieve at least 7.0 overall and in each category, Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

You will need to have a valid passport and a bank statement showing sufficient funds.

Criminal Record Certificate

If you are applying for certain jobs mostly in the public sector such as healthcare, welfare and education sectors. You will need to provide a criminal record certificate for any country in which, since the age of 18, you have been present for 12 months or more in the 10 years before the date of your application.

Identity

For most applicants you must prove your identity by booking an appointment at a Visa Application Centre in your current country. The appointment will include collecting your fingerprints, facial photograph and signature. The UK government website has a list of addresses for each eligible country.

Once you have sorted out the above, you can get then apply through the government website to get started.

What is the Current Visa Processing Time?

This will differ by visa, but after you have submitted your online application, proved your identity and provided the relevant documents, 90% of applicants are processed within 3 weeks.

What will it cost?

Application fees will be different depending on your length of stay, type of visa and how many dependants you will bring. For the work visas that require a job role on the occupations list, the cost will range from £247 – £1423 from 1-5 years of stay.

Healthcare

You and your dependants are exempt from paying for Healthcare on the Health and Care Worker visa.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) entitles you to use the NHS if you become unwell or have an accident while in the UK.

You have to pay the IHS even if you do not use the NHS or even if you have your own private health insurance, the cost is £1,035 per year.

If you are applying for a 2-year visa you will have to pay £1,035 each year, therefore you will have to pay a total of £2,070.

Sufficient Funds

You must have at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK, a bank statement will suffice.

The financial requirement is that you show you have enough money for your living costs for yourself and dependants while you move to the UK.

You do not need to show funds it you have been living in the UK for 12 months or more with permission on the date of application.

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