On March 15, 2023, the Spring Budget was announced bringing changes to business visitor visa requirements and shortage occupation list, as well as extending support to Ukraine Visa Scheme Holders.
Business Visitor Visa
The government aims to expand what is permitted under the Business Visitor Visa. By the autumn of 2023, the range of short-term business activities that can be carried out for a period of up to six months will be expanded. A review of permitted paid engagements will be conducted. The government will also consider many other activities that are linked to negotiations with trade partners.
All the above changes will also apply to non-visa national business visitors like those who arrive from USA or EU.
Businesses will now need to understand what exactly will be considered as permitted paid engagements and permitted activities under the Business Visitor Visa, so that the visitor is not considered to be working illegally in the UK.
Shortage Occupation List
Although the Migration Advisory Committee will finish its review of the shortage occupation list later this year, an interim report was published that dealt with workers in the field of construction and hospitality. According to the report, the construction sector constitutes 6% of all workforce jobs. At present, 30% of the construction jobs are self-employed, and therefore cannot be eligible for the Skilled Worker visa route.
The following roles in the construction sector will be added to the shortage occupation list within the next four months:
- Bricklayers and masons
- Roofers, roof tilers and slaters
- Carpenters and joiners
- Plasters and dryliners; and
- Construction and building trades not elsewhere classified
Once the roles are added to the shortage occupation list, sponsors can bring employees with a salary of £20,960 per year which is 20% less than the minimum salary requirement for sponsorship.
The application fee will be £479, which is lower than the usual application fee.
Employees will still need to meet the English Language Requirement and Immigration Skills Charge, which is up to £1000 per year.
Employment Support under Ukraine Visa Scheme
For Ukrainians who arrived in the UK under the Ukraine Visa Schemes, the government will provide £11.5 million to offer them employment support as well as intensive English Language Courses. This will allow many Ukrainians to enter the labour market for the first time. Some who have already been employed can get into higher roles.
The Ukrainian Visa Scheme lasts for a maximum of 3 years and Ukrainians are expected to leave the country at the end of that period. So how the Ukrainians can enter into higher roles with the changes presented in the budget is yet to be understood. Employers may not prefer hiring people who will leave the country after a short period of time. Also, we don’t know if the government will actually send back Ukrainians after the period of their visa scheme ends.
How Aristone Solicitors can help
Our experienced immigration solicitors can answer any queries you have with the changes mentioned in the budget. We can provide the support and consultancy you need to understand your position and choose the best possible course of action. We’ll ensure your application is backed by the complete and compelling evidence necessary to ensure a prompt and positive outcome.