Last year the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) invited employers and other interested parties to provide evidence on occupations in the UK for which there is a shortage of skilled workers. Those interested in providing evidence have only a few days left to do so as the deadline is 6 January 2019.
The Shortage Occupation List is found within Appendix K of the Immigration Rules. The list contains specific roles for which there is a demonstrable shortage of skilled workers in the UK. The roles that appear on the shortage occupation list are eligible for sponsorship under Tier 2. In general, the process of sponsoring workers into these roles is easier than sponsoring workers into roles that are not on the list. In particular, when a role appears on the shortage occupation list, a sponsor is not required to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test prior to hiring a non-settled worker, which can often save time.
Whilst the Tier 2 category currently only applies to non-settled workers, once the UK has left the EU, the recent White Paper published by the Government confirms that the system of sponsorship will be extended to include EEA citizens. Employers who find it difficult to recruit settled workers into specific roles should therefore consider providing this information to the MAC in order for the job title to be considered and recommended for the shortage occupation list in the future.
When is a role a shortage occupation role?
In order for a role to be eligible for the shortage occupation list:
- there must be demonstrable national shortages that cannot be filled from within the domestic labour market;
- the role must be skilled to the required level set by the Home Office; and
- it must be demonstratable that it is sensible to seek to fill vacancies with migrant labour from outside of the EEA (under the pre-Brexit system).
In order to assess which occupations and job titles should be added to the shortage occupation list, the MAC uses national data and evidence submitted by stakeholders. In previous reviews, the MAC has only considered occupations for the list that are skilled to RQF level 6, as these are the roles that are eligible for sponsorship under Tier 2.
However, with the uncertainty regarding Brexit, the MAC would like to have a better understanding of the full scale of potential shortages across the whole labour market. As such, the MAC has requested evidence relating to all occupations and job titles in order to ascertain the full scale of national skills shortages across the UK.
How to submit evidence
Those wishing to submit evidence to the MAC should do so by 6 January 2019. Submissions can be made online here.
The MAC report is expected in the spring, following which the Government will consider the report and decide if any recommendations are to be implemented.
For further information, please contact us.