United Kingdom: Migration Advisory Committee Proposes Reducing Shortage Occupation List
Though the MAC recommends adding several engineering occupations to the list of job titles eligible for immigration cap priority and labor market test exemptions, proposed cuts for health industry jobs would result in a net reduction in shortage occupations as a percentage of the UK’s overall workforce.
Fewer occupations would qualify for immigration cap priority and labor market test exemptions under Tier 2 of the UK’s Points Based System if the Home Office approves proposed cuts to the Shortage Occupation List recently recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The MAC – the UK’s independent advisor on migration issues – also recommends against automatically removing jobs from the list after two years.
The Shortage Occupation List is a roster of jobs for which there is an endemic shortage of suitably skilled resident workers. If a job appears on the list, an employer can fill it with a non-European Union national without having to complete a resident labor market test. Applications to fill shortage occupations also get priority access to the monthly cap on restricted certificates of sponsorships.
The MAC is recommending a number of engineering occupations be added to the list, but its proposal includes several cuts to health industry jobs that would result in an overall net reduction in shortage occupations as a percentage of the UK’s overall workforce.
The MAC was also asked to analyze whether jobs should be removed from the shortage list automatically after two years, known as the sunset clause. The MAC recommends against this policy, suggesting that either the current rules on removing jobs should remain in force or that a four-year sunset period be introduced that includes opportunities to appeal list removals.
The MAC’s recommendations are now being considered by the Home Office. While not binding, the MAC report will likely carry significant influence in any upcoming changes to the Shortage Occupation List. In the past, the Home Office has acted on MAC recommendations in one to three months.