The UK Migration Advisory Committee recommends large increase in Shortage Occupation List

The release of the recent Migration Advisory Committee report is yet another tangible piece of analysis that calls into question the economic wisdom of Britain’s decision to leave the EU. The shortage occupation list represents those jobs within the UK that require more highly skilled migrants that are deemed to be available locally. Those non-EU citizens applying for positions on the list enjoy exemptions from visa barriers such as migration caps and indeed salary thresholds. Up to now the list has included a modest number of positions making up only 1% of jobs at 180,000. The report recommends a staggering increase to approximately 9% of all jobs, representing around 2.5 million workers.

This report was specifically commissioned by the UK government in 2018 and while it is far from legally binding, it carries a lot weight and is likely to be followed to some degree at least.

Some of the skillsets effected by the recommendations include:

  • Veterinarians
  • Architects
  • Programmers & Software Developers
  • IT analysts, architects, & designers
  • Civil, Mechanical, & Electrical Engineers
  • Web Design & Development Professionals
  • Medical Practitioners
  • Quality Control & Planning Engineers

These recommendations are going to be good news to those companies suffering from labour shortages within the UK and no doubt have feared an exacerbation of the issue post-Brexit. Indeed the MAC made several other recommendations in their report which seem designed to offset the reduction of attractiveness Britain has experienced as a result of Brexit.

These additional recommendations include:

  • Scotland, Northern Ireland, & Wales should be included in a UK wide SOL
  • Pilot programmes should be launched to encourage long term immigration into remote communities with labour shortages
  • The role of the SOL should be researched to decide whether a more robust system to tackle labour shortages should be implemented post Brexit

Like so many European issues of immigration these days, the impact and validity of this report is likely to be influenced by the terms of Brexit should it ever come to pass. What it does indicate, however, is that contrary to what some purveyors of populist rhetoric might suggest, Britain is deeply in need of immigration in order to prosper, and there will be many opportunities there for mobile professionals in the coming years.

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