The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has reported a decline in the number of specialist jobs on the shortage occupation list for UK work permit holders from outside of the EEA.
According to the study, the skilled jobs on the shortage occupation list need to be reassessed and a drop in the overall number implemented. The report advised the government to reduce the number of employees on the shortage occupation list to just 180,000. This would see non-EEA members make up around one per cent of the UK's total workforce - a significant reduction from the one million plus employees covered by the list before the MAC started advising on the issue in 2008.
Professor David Metcalf CBE, chairman of the committee, commented on the report's findings: “Overall migration through the Tier 2 visa route is already limited - which means our new reduced shortage occupation list will have only a limited impact on overall migration volumes.
“We strongly support the government's up-skilling agenda which has been very successful in bringing down the number of health jobs on the list. But the increasing demand for specialist engineers continues to outstrip supply.”
He added that the MAC recommended adding around 20 new engineering sector job titles to the list this year and pushed for “greater strategic thinking” around boosting skill levels in technology, science, mathematics and engineering.
While the MAC advocated increasing the number of engineering jobs on the list, it also suggested the removal of 19 jobs in the health sector due to investment in health training over the last decade and an increase in suitable available employees.
In addition to its regular remit of assessing the jobs on the shortage list, the government also requested the MAC to advise on proposals to introduce a sunset clause for jobs on the list. This would see positions automatically removed from the shortage occupation list after two years. However, the committee argued against the suggestion, stating that there is a risk that automatic removal would result in “significant difficulties in some key areas for UK Plc”, including maths, world class performing arts and electricity distribution.
Instead of introducing the two-year sunset clause, the committee advised maintaining the current system or perhaps introducing a four-year time period of removal that included an opportunity to appeal against removal.