MAC revises UK work permit advice

12 Sep 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has revised its suggestions regarding the allowance of UK work permits for migrants from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA).

According to the government's advisory group, the Shortage Occupation List should restrict migrants from outside of the EEA to a smaller proportion of the occupations on offer within the UK's labour market.

In fact, MAC has recommended that the list be reduced to cover around 190,000 employees, meaning that that well under one per cent of the UK work force would be open to migrants from outside of the EEA under the shortage occupation route of Tier 2 work permits. The annual limit of 20,700 Tier 2 work permits will apply on top of these restrictions.

Professor David Metcalfe CBE, chairman of MAC, explained the board's views: “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.”

Among the 29 jobs recommended for removal are secondary school biology teachers, consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatric surgery, nuclear medicine and veterinary surgeons.

Professor Metcalfe added that the government, employers and the training sector need to take “concerted action” to improve the skill levels of the resident UK workforce in order to reduce the country's reliance on migrant workers in the long-term and “provide real benefits for the economy as a whole”.