The MAC has undertaken a full review of the current Shortage Occupation List and recommended that the list be expanded in several key areas. The Shortage Occupation List is a way for the immigration system to prioritise some jobs over others, based on where labour shortages are most severe.
The full review can be found here (opens PDF).
Why does it matter?
Generally, a UK employer wishing to sponsor a non-EEA national under Tier 2 (General) of the sponsorship system needs to complete what is known as the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’. This entails advertising the vacant role, in a prescribed manner, in an effort to recruit from the resident UK population.
Employers are only able to offer the role to a non-EEA national where no other suitable ‘settled’ person from the resident labour market applies. The definition of settled includes UK and European nationals as well as those with permanent residency and UK ancestry leave.
There are various advantages for roles listed on the Shortage Occupation List, including:
- the roles are exempt from the RLMT process;
- they are given priority under the annual quota of Tier 2 visas (20,700 per year);
- they are exempt from the minimum salary requirement for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications, currently set at £35,800 per year and due to increase year on year; and
- there are reduced application fees.
The MAC’s recent recommendations
The MAC has recommended an expansion of the current Shortage Occupation List to include far more roles in fields such as engineering, science and the health sector. Secondary school teachers and social workers are also recommended as additions to the list.
If the government does accept the MAC’s recommendations to expand the Shortage Occupation list in this way, it should provide some welcome relief to employers struggling to recruit in particular sectors.
With forthcoming changes to the Immigration rules in the years ahead, it will continue to be an interesting time for employers relying on overseas migration.