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Revised shortage occupation list to cover a smaller proportion of labour market

Revised shortage occupation list to cover a smaller proportion of labour market

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 September 2011

The Migration Advisory Committee has today advised that the Shortage Occupation List be revised to restrict migrants from outside the European Economic Area to a smaller proportion of occupations within the UK labour market.

Today the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommends the list be reduced to cover 190,000 employees [not migrants] or well under one per cent of the UK workforce. In 2008, before the MAC recommended changes to it, that list covered over one million employees.

The occupations in the list are the only positions open to migrants from outside the European Economic Area under the shortage occupation route of Tier 2 of the of Points Based System and Tier 2 is subject to an annual limit of 20,700.

The latest MAC recommended list provides a more detailed breakdown of the sectors of the labour market affected by shortage. This has enabled the MAC to identify individual job titles rather than broader occupations.

Chairman of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf CBE, said:

"Although the proportion of the labour market covered by our new recommended list is lower than before, our recommendation will have only a limited impact on migration volumes because overall migration through Tier 2 is limited. However, the list is more selective than before: it is targeted specifically on those job titles where there is currently a clear evidence of shortage.

"We think it is vital that the government, employers and the training sector take concerted action to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce, especially in long-standing shortage occupation areas. This will reduce the UK's reliance on migrant workers in the long term and provide real benefits for the economy as a whole."

A total of 29 job titles are recommended for removal from the list. They include: secondary school biology teachers; consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology; paediatric surgery; nuclear medicine and paediatric dentistry; veterinary surgeons; and tutti orchestral musicians.

The 33 recommended additions to the list include: consultants in emergency medicine; actuaries; specific roles within the visual effects and 2D/3D computer animation for film; television and the video games sectors; high integrity pipe welders; environmental scientists; and operations managers in the decommissioning areas of the nuclear industry and geochemists. These will help to ensure the UK remains a leading global player in these fields.

The government will now consider the MAC's recommendations and respond in due course.


1. For a copy of the revised Shortage Occupation List please go to http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/workingwithus/indbodies/mac/

2. The Shortage Occupation is part of the Tier 2 immigration route via the Points Based System. Highly skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to work in the UK must apply for visas via this route.

3. The annual limit on immigration from outside the EEA was introduced on 6 April 2011. For more information go to http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/

4. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises the government on migration issues. It is a non-statutory, non-time-limited, non-departmental public body, sponsored by the UK Border Agency of the Home Office. The MAC is made up of a chair and four other independent economists, who have been appointed under rules relating to public appointments laid down by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). Additionally, the Commission for Employment and Skills and the UK Border Agency are represented on the committee.

5. For more information or to request an interview with Professor Metcalf contact the Migration Advisory Committee press office on 020 7035 3535


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