Shortage Occupation List replaced by the new Immigration Salary List (ISL)

In a monumental move to overhaul its immigration system, the UK government has decided to bid farewell to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and welcome the Immigration Salary List (ISL). This strategic shift, effective from April 4, 2024, aims to reshape skilled migration, reduce overall immigration levels, and ensure equitable wages for all workers.

The Transition: SOL to ISL

With the implementation of the Immigration Salary List (ISL), the UK is set to embark on a new journey in managing its skilled migration intake. This transition, backed by recommendations from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), underscores the government’s commitment to recalibrating its approach towards attracting highly skilled professionals.

Prioritising High-Skilled Roles

The core focus of the Immigration Salary List (ISL) lies in targeting genuinely skilled positions that face shortages of qualified domestic workers. By concentrating on areas with legitimate skill gaps, the UK aims to steer away from immigration being perceived as a tool for securing cheaper labour, thus ensuring the integrity of its workforce.

Mitigating Exploitation Concerns

One of the key motivations behind the transition from the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) to the Immigration Salary List (ISL) is to address concerns surrounding the exploitation of migrant workers. Previously, the SOL allowed for discounted salaries in certain roles, raising alarms about undercutting domestic wages. By eliminating this practice, the ISL strives to uphold fair compensation standards across the board.

A Targeted Approach

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has kickstarted the Immigration Salary List (ISL) with an initial list of 21 occupations, representing a mere 8% of eligible Skilled Worker visa roles. This selective approach ensures that the list remains dynamic and reflective of the evolving needs of the UK labour market, with regular reviews to maintain relevance.

Highlighted Occupations on the ISL

Among the occupations recommended for inclusion in the Immigration Salary List (ISL) are managers in forestry and fishing, laboratory technicians, pharmaceutical technicians, boat and ship builders, stonemasons, bricklayers, roofers, and various care services occupations. These recommendations underscore the diverse array of skill sets sought after in the UK.

Impact and Other Key Changes

The abolishment of the SOL and the introduction of the ISL, alongside a significant increase in the minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visas, are anticipated to yield several impacts, including a reduction in overall immigration levels, the attraction of highly skilled professionals to genuine shortage areas, and the promotion of domestic recruitment while ensuring fair wages.


As the UK bids farewell to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and embraces the Immigration Salary List (ISL), a transformative era in immigration policy unfolds. Despite the challenges ahead, the government’s commitment to nurturing a robust labour market signals optimism for a brighter future. With strategic reforms and expert legal support, individuals and businesses can navigate the evolving landscape of UK immigration with confidence and success.

Why Choose a Leading London Immigration Law Firm?

Navigating the complexities of the UK immigration system, particularly in light of recent reforms such as the introduction of the ISL, requires expert guidance and legal representation. Our leading London Immigration Law Firm stands at the forefront of assisting clients in preparing and submitting skilled worker or family visa applications.

With a team of experienced immigration lawyers well-versed in the intricacies of the immigration process, we offer comprehensive support to individuals and businesses seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of UK immigration law. From assessing eligibility criteria to compiling necessary documentation and representing clients in visa applications, our firm provides tailored solutions to meet the unique needs of each case.

Whether you are an employer looking to sponsor skilled workers or an individual seeking to reunite with family members in the UK, our firm offers a range of services to facilitate the visa application process. Our expertise extends to various visa categories, including the UK skilled worker visa and spouse visa applications.

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