Both The Times and the Guardian have reported that ministers have consulted the Migration Advisory Committee over whether some hospitality workers should be added to the list of shortage occupations.

Since Brexit all newly arrived Europeans have needed a visa to work in the UK, as do nationals from the rest of the world.

For many employers, the visa system has been the only option for recruiting into skilled roles. There is very little provision for recruiting from overseas into lower skilled roles such as waiting and bar staff.

Shortage Occupations

When a role is defined as being in a shortage occupation it can be eligible for visa sponsorship, even if the role is below the usual skills threshold.

Currently roles on the shortage occupation list do not need to meet the standard minimum salary threshold of £25,600, they only need to meet a salary of £20,480. It is currently more affordable to employ individuals in shortage occupations.

However, it is expected that minimum salary rates for Skilled Workers will increase from:

  1. i) £25,600 to £26,200 (in relation to the general salary threshold), and
  2. ii) £20,480 to £20,960 (in relation to the lower salary threshold)

These changes are expected in the Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, subject to Parliamentary approval, which should be published on 9 March 2023.

Abolition of salary discount

The MAC has been asked to comment on the lower minimum salary requirements for roles on the shortage occupation list. There have been concerns that the salary discount applied to roles on the shortage occupation list acts to drive down wages for overseas workers and for the resident population. The MAC has indicated that they will recommend that the salary threshold discount, which currently provides a discount of 20% of the required salary rate for the relevant occupation code, will be abolished.

Chefs, hotel and restaurant managers

Experienced chefs were on the shortage occupation list until April 2021 when they were removed. Chefs, Restaurant and Hotel Managers may soon return to the shortage occupation list making it easier to recruit overseas nationals to fill these roles.

If you require any further information on how these changes could affect your business, or wish to discuss any immigration matter, then please contact Emma Brooksbank or any member of our Immigration Team who will be happy to assist.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the present time and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.