The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recently recommended that more jobs be added to the shortage occupation list. This means that the route to employing migrant workers would be slightly easier for more jobs – approximately an increase from 1% of current roles to 9%.

What is the Migration Advisory Committee?

The MAC is an independent body set up to advise the government on migration issues, including the impacts of immigration, the limits on immigration under the points-based system, and skill shortages within occupations.

This current review specifically looks at the latter, and is the first full review of the shortage occupation list since 2013.

What is the Shortage Occupation List?

The shortage occupation list (SOL) is a list of specific jobs for which there are considered to be too few resident workers. It’s applicable where employers are trying to recruit an individual under a Tier 2 general visa (and in some asylum cases). A job which is on the SOL has some benefits when trying to recruit from outside the UK, such as:

  • No need to pass the resident labour market test (i.e. advertise the role for 28 days before applying for a certificate of sponsorship)

  • Jobs on the SOL are given priority if the Tier 2 general limit is reached

  • No requirement to meet the salary threshold when applying for indefinite leave to remain

  • Lower visa fees for applicants and their families

The MAC recommends the widening of some occupation codes to include all jobs under that code, and also recommends that new categories are added. Added to the list are archaeologists, web design and development professionals, psychologists, vets, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and architects.

This is currently just a recommendation but, if accepted by the government, would be a welcome change and slightly ease the path to recruiting migrant workers for some employers. Employers should be aware, however, there are still a number of obstacles to recruiting someone from outside the UK and, if there is a need to fill skilled roles, they should take advice early on to ensure the best chance of success. This is particularly important in the face of Brexit which is expected to seriously affect a large number of roles over the coming year and beyond.

If you would like to discuss your options, please get in touch with our Immigration team by calling 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.