The Association for Consultancy and Engineering has welcomed the addition of civil and structural engineering to the list of occupations for which employers can hire workers from outside the EU to fill vacancies.

However, it said the government needed to do more to secure the engineering skills the UK needed, especially in the energy sector.

Engineering was one of the few occupations added to the revised list after ministers asked a panel of experts to identify sectors with skills shortages. The list, which since July 2007 has included QSs, is expected to come into force at the end of November.

Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE’s chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the action, but disappointed and dismayed the government has not included M&E engineering on the list – a skill that was on the June 2008 list.”

Under the points-based migration system all EU citizens, except those from Bulgaria and Romania, will be able to work in the UK without restrictions, but unskilled workers from other parts of the world will not.

On Sunday, an all-party group of MPs called for four-year limits on foreign workers’ residency. It said Britain would be unable to cope with the 7 million migrants forecast to arrive by 2031.