UK Tier 2 visa migrant engineering professionals needed in the UK

An article published by The Engineer earlier this year is urging non-EU, migrant engineers to come to the UK on Tier 2 visas amid a growing skills shortage across the UK’s engineering sector. According to the article, the UK is experiencing a ‘domestic labour shortage of approximately 20,000 engineering professionals, and is reliant on foreign talent to fill the void.’

Sanwar Ali comment:

Employers who wish to employ non-EU nationals on tier 2 visas need to firstly apply for a tier 2 sponsorship licence.  This can be quite a difficult process.  Sometimes the Home Office visits the office of the employer which makes things more difficult still.  Another difficulty now is that due to the tier 2 restricted CoS quota there are not enough visas to employ tier 2 visa applicants based outside the UK.  Currently in most cases employers need to pay from £50,000 per year upwards.

With Brexit looming, there are fears that the skills shortage will deepen. Recent statistics released by Engineering UK suggest that the shortage of engineering professionals could rise to over 180,000 each year until 2020. This is attributed to growing concern among migrants over changes to UK immigration policies, who choose to find employment elsewhere.

As a consequence of the shortage, professions across the Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Process Engineering industries have been added to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List.

The Shortage Occupation List explained

The UK Shortage Occupation List is compiled by the government and contains every skilled profession in Britain, which workers from the domestic labour pool – British or EEA (European Economic Area) - are unable to fill.

Hundreds of professions are on the list, ranging from ballet dancers to nurses. However 53 occupations on the list are from engineering industries alone, including job roles such as:

  • Automotive Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Control and Instrument Engineer
  • Geotechnical Engineer
  • Integrated Circuit Test Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer (Oil)
  • Power System Engineer
  • Product Design Engineer

Migrant engineers can apply for jobs on the list much more easily

The Shortage Occupation List makes it easier for migrant engineers to apply for certain engineering roles in Britain. To be eligible to work in the UK, non-EU migrants require a Tier 2 skilled worker visa. Normally, as part of the Tier 2 visa application process, job roles would be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT).

Prior to offering a position to a non-EU national, employers must advertise a vacancy for a minimum of 28 days to domestic UK and EEA skilled workers. However, if a job role is listed on the Shortage Occupation List, the RLMT is not applicable.

For non-EU migrant engineering professionals, this means that their Tier 2 visa application is given immediate consideration. However, under Tier 2 (General) visa guidelines, applicants must meet certain criteria in order for an application to be granted.

Tier 2 visa requirements

The criteria that must be met includes:

  • A proven competency in English
  • Enough funds to support living costs prior to receiving a salary
  • Proof of an official job offer from an employer with a valid Tier 2 sponsorship licence

A Tier 2 skilled worker visa is typically valid for three years or more. Meanwhile, applying for the visa in view of filling a vacancy on the Shortage Occupation List will result in a discounted application fee. The Tier 2 visa can be extended to five years, provided that the holder continues to work for the same engineering firm.

In accordance with the European Union’s Freedom of Movement Policy, any Swiss or EEA citizen with the appropriate qualifications and experience can be hired for an engineering role in Britain exempt from having to apply for a UK visa.

EEA Residence Card

However, this is likely to change following Britain’s split from the EU. European nationals who are currently working in the UK in an engineering role, or would like to in the future, are being urged to secure their place in Britain by applying for an EEA Residence Card.

The EEA Residence Card enables EU workers to switch employers, submit new job applications and provide evidence of residential status in Britain. can help Tier 2 Visa Sponsorship Licences and Tier 2 Visas

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence obligations, can help.

More and more employers are facing sudden unannounced onsite inspections. Contact us for a copy of our free Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence Compliance guide.

For more information and advice on UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or