As the United Kingdom’s engineering skill gap continues to drop, there is an urgent demand for foreign-trained engineers. However, can foreign engineers work in the UK? yes! Over the years, foreign talent has contributed immensely to the UK’s engineering sector.
The country is facing a shortage of over 10,000 engineering professionals which has made the industry rely on foreign engineers in the last decade. However, as Brexit negotiations become stormy, this shortage will likely increase. Because of this shortage, some engineering professions such as Civil, Mechanical, Chemical, and Electrical Engineering occupations have been listed on the UK’s Shortage Occupation List.
Even though there’s a shortage of engineers in the UK, that doesn’t imply that you will just get hired immediately. What the shortage means is that engineers with the right mix of technical ability, personal skills, and practical experience in the UK are limited. However, you can invest in yourself by obtaining the right mix of research, planning, and action.
As such, you’ll be appealing to engineering-related companies that need capable hands that’ll make their businesses grow. In this article, we’ll discuss the visa requirements that will allow foreign engineers to work in the UK. As well as reasons behind the shortage of engineers in the UK. Let’s dive in!
Visa Requirements for Foreign Engineers to Immigrate to the UK
Any non-EEA national who wants to work in the UK engineering sector will need to obtain a Skilled Work Visa before entering the UK. Officially, this visa is referred to as the Tier 2 visa. Meanwhile, there are some guidelines you must adhere to under the Tier 2 visa.
As an applicant, you must meet the following requirements, which include:
- Demonstrate your English proficiency.
- Show documents proving that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK. As well as any accompanying dependents.
- Additionally, you must obtain a valid job offer from an engineering company or employer. Your potential employer must have a valid Sponsor License.
However, your Skilled Work Visas may last for three years or more. If your job offer is from a shortage occupation list, then the government will reduce your application fees. You can further extend the visa for up to five years, so long as you’re still working with the same company.
Generally, any EEA or Swiss national who possesses the required qualifications and experience can take up an engineering job in the UK. According to the Free Movement Policy, such individuals won’t have to obtain a visa. But the majority of people are contemplating whether the rule may change after Brexit, or not.
As such, European citizens who are working as engineers or intending to be in the UK must secure their places. This could be achieved by obtaining an EEA Residence Card. Furthermore, with this card, you can change your employer and apply for fresh job applications.
As well as demonstrate residential status in the UK. Applying for one of these cards is easy and uncomplicated. Most European nationals are okay with having one as it offers them a peaceful mind in an uncertain political time.
Reasons Behind the Shortage of Engineers in the UK
The shortage of engineers in the UK has made it possible for foreign engineers to work in the UK. However, this can be achieved through the various immigration pathways for engineers. Below, we’ll discuss some of the reasons behind the shortage of engineers in the UK. Dive in!
The skills shortage is worsened by the close retirement of an aging workforce. About 19 percent of engineering workers in the UK are due for retirement by 2026. Thereby leaving a skill gap to be covered by the newly hired engineers.
2. Economic factors
The economic situation of the country has left most companies to find an alternative by reducing their head count. As such, quite several engineers left their jobs to ride out the recession. However, when the sectors eventually picked up, most engineering workers did not return and skills were lost. During the same period, employers reduced the number of entry-level positions, opening skills gaps in the long run.
3. Employer brands struggling to compete
Attracting the best and brightest minds is a key part of the puzzle and this again has its roots in the perception of engineering as a career option. In a competitive market, other industries have won the war for talent by building strong employer brands. Meanwhile, most successful engineering companies have not effectively promoted themselves to candidates.
This is obvious as their websites do not reflect their market position, the excitement of the work, or the culture and working practices. Furthermore, it hinders the brand’s insight and likely puts candidates off. Business websites are very essential in the recruitment process as the company shop-window.
Therefore, businesses must market themselves professionally, making them highly attractive to prospective employees.
Highest-paying Engineering Jobs after Studying in the UK
1. Aeronautical Engineering
Aeronautical engineers are responsible for designing and building aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, and rockets. As an aeronautical engineer, not only will be required to design and build but will also maintain the aircraft. As well as its parts and instruments. Aeronautical engineers in the UK earn an average salary of £33,000 per year.
2. Chemical Engineering
Chemical engineers are responsible for changing the chemical state of materials to create other products. They are in charge of designing and creating machines used in production processes. In the field of engineering, chemical engineers are one of the highest paid, with experienced workers earning more than £55,000. However, chemical engineers in the UK may earn an average salary of £35,000 per year.
3. Mechanical Engineering
Mechanical engineers are involved in the designing, development, and maintenance of the technical aspects of machines. Such machines are used in companies, construction, or our day-to-day activities. They also can develop plans for constructing various machinery-based equipment such as piping systems. As a mechanical engineer in the UK, you may earn an average salary of £35,000 per year.
4. Biomedical Engineering
Biomedical engineers are essential to the medical and healthcare sector, which explains why they are one of the highest-paid engineers in the UK. They are responsible for designing and developing machines for the healthcare sector like respirators. As well as surgical tools to assist physicians during surgery, among other machines. Biomedical engineers earn an average annual salary of £34,900 in the UK.
5. Electrical Engineering
The job roles of electrical engineers include designing and developing electrical systems. Meanwhile, electrical engineers may work closely with mechanical and energy engineers. They are also responsible for creating, designing, and drawing up circuit diagrams.
Furthermore, they carry out feasibility studies with the use of specialized computer software. As well as testing new installations, supervising projects, and ensuring that all the safety precautions are duly followed. Electrical engineers in the UK earn an average salary of £36,000 per year.
6. Civil Engineering
Another of the in-demand jobs that foreigners can secure in the UK is civil engineering. It’s one of the leading professions where experienced engineers can earn over £51,000 after joining the Institute of Civil Engineers as a member. They are professionals when it comes to working on large building projects like residential buildings.
As well as other structures like bridges, sports centers, transport links, drainage systems, and dams. As a civil engineer in the UK, you may earn an average salary of £36,681 per year.
7. Robotics Engineering
Generally, a robotics engineer’s daily activities include planning and constructing machines for performing automated jobs in industries. Industries like manufacturing, aerospace, and medicine. As a robotics engineer, you must keep up with the progress of the industry and upcoming technology.
And also learn about the latest trends in robotics by reading articles and attending related conferences to get acquainted with upcoming changes. Robotics engineers in the UK can earn an average salary of £44,000 per year.
8. Data Engineering
Data engineering is one of the youngest branches of engineering with a significant demand amongst employers as more organizations started engaging in digital workflows. The job of a data engineer is to gather, process, clean format, and prepare data for data scientists. Currently, data engineering is one of the fastest-growing career options that also comes under the highest-paying engineering jobs category. Data engineers in the UK may earn an average salary of £56,500 per year.
Based on the continuous shortage of professional engineers in the UK, immigrating to the country is one of the best decisions you can make. Good luck!