Legal Briefing

Changes to shortage occupation list

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Human Resources | 01 November 2011

The shortage occupation list has been amended to remove some specialist jobs that are no longer considered to be under resourced within the resident labour market.

The ‘shortage occupation’ is part of the Tier 2 immigration route under the points-based system. The government has recently accepted recommendations from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that will see the number of jobs covered by the list drop by 40,000. This will bring the total down from 230,000 to 190,000. The MAC recommended the changes where evidence from a range of industries and sectors showed resident workers are available to fill the vacancies.

Those occupations that the MAC recommended to be removed from the list include:

  • secondary education biology teachers;
  • speech and language therapists;
  • pharmacists;
  • orthoptists;
  • veterinary surgeons; and
  • rank-and-file orchestral musicians.

However, some specialist roles have been added to the list including:

  • actuaries;
  • high integrity pipe welders;
  • environmental scientists; and
  • geochemists.

The government has accepted the MAC’s recommended list in full, however, rank-and-file orchestral musicians will not be removed from the list, until further discussions take place with the industry to discuss the resident labour market test.

The revised list will come into effect from 14 November 2011. This means that:

  • For applications covered by the annual limit – the new list will apply to all applications by Tier 2 sponsors for restricted Certificates of Sponsorship made on or after 14 November 2011.
  • For applications outside the annual limit, the new list will apply to all unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship assigned to migrants on or after 14 November 2011.

Employers can only bring someone in to the UK under Tier 2 (General) if the job is on the shortage occupation list or if they pass a resident labour market test.