Skilled Worker Immigrant Salary Rise Prices Roofers Out

ROOFERS recruited from overseas to plug the skills gap are being priced out of the country, business leaders say.

From 4 April property and construction businesses wishing to hire overseas talent through the skilled worker visa will need to pay staff at least a minimum of £38,700.

The rise reflects UK Government’s attempts to lower migration numbers rather than meeting real economic need, says global immigration firm Fragomen.

The increase represents a rise of almost 50% from the current salary threshold of £26,200 and far exceeds the average salary for large parts of the country.

At the same time, the going rate of pay for specific occupations will increase to the median pay. A construction project manager applying under the old rules would need to be paid at least £29,500. Now they will need to be paid at least £40,500.

Immigrant Salary Rise

While roofer pay reached record levels in the past 12 months – in some cases exceeding a £50,000 annual salary – 5 out of the 10 UK regions pay roofers less than the immigration salary threshold for a skilled worker.

It means, in those regions, businesses are unlikely to afford employing a skilled roofer from overseas. The result further exacerbates existing regional inequalities and once again widens the north-south divide.

The new thresholds, says Fragomen, have the potential to negatively impact the UK economy with construction and property businesses among hardest hit industries.

Simply Unaffordable

Katrin Wilson, a Partner at Fragomen said: “This increase to the skilled worker salary threshold is quite staggering and raises concerns that the Government’s attempts to lower net migration figures are taking precedence over economic need.

“In many instances, and particularly outside of London, the £38,700 threshold exceeds the average annual wage and is simply unaffordable for many businesses. The UK immigration system is already one of the most expensive in the world, and this increase effectively closes overseas recruitment to UK industry for some businesses.

“Many sectors, particularly construction and property, continue to rely on overseas workers. Businesses have not yet had sufficient time to see the benefits of programmes to upskill the resident workforce. Businesses are also required to pay the high Immigration Skills Charge when sponsoring workers. Greater transparency is needed in how the Government is spending this money to support sector training initiatives.”

Shortage Occupation List

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) conducted a Rapid Review earlier in 2024. It will later this year lead a wider review of immigration and the needs of industry.

Its recommendations are likely be reflected in changes to the Immigration Salary List (ISL) which replaces the Shortage Occupation List. Roles that make it onto the ISL benefit from a 20% discount on the skilled worker salary threshold reducing it to £30,960.

Charlotte Wills, Partner at Fragomen, said: “Whilst this will not negate the 4 April increases, it will help – but only for those roles and industries included on the ISL. However, under the rules, applicants in specific occupations need also meet the ‘going rate’ threshold. If it is above the minimum salary threshold, they will receive no benefit from the ISL discount.

“It is vital that businesses ensure their voice is heard directly or via the relevant trade bodies on what support their industry needs from the UK immigration system. Businesses should take encouragement that Government does listen to the recommendations made by MAC, often adopting them in full. The wider review expected later this year is a crucial opportunity to be heard and shape the system they are a user of.”

>> Read more about roofing pay in the news

The post Skilled Worker Immigrant Salary Rise Prices Roofers Out appeared first on Roofing Today.

Generated by Feedzy