Government advisers have suggested that UK work permit rules should be relaxed for web designers, vets, architects, and psychologists coming into the UK from outside of Europe. According to the Migration Advisory Committee, UK visas need to be reconsidered for these roles, which are beginning to show serious talent shortages.
Currently, people applying for roles which are listed on the Shortage Occupation list should be able to jump up the list a little faster than usual. However, the review of the SOL (Shortage Occupation List) has suggested that there may need to be a significant expansion. The new proposals would allow the SOL to cover approximately 9% of the professions in the labour market, compared to only 1% today.
The current tier 2 work permit scheme allows around 20,700 highly skilled employees into the UK to pursue new careers each year. The salary threshold for these highly-skilled workers sits at £30,000, and top priority is given to people applying for jobs on the SOL list. If a job title is included in the SOL, this means that there will be no need to advertise the role to UK workers, and no need to meet the salary threshold increase of £35,800 following five years.
Jobs on the SOL list mean that would-be UK migrants would also be able to apply for UK visas without facing high application fees for themselves and their families.
Last year, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct a complete review of the list when the general cap for the tier 2 work permit was hit. The MAC recommended that a greater review was necessary to understand how the SOL list should change for the future of migration.
Some of the professions that are on the list today include mining engineers, games designers, cyber security experts and emergency medicine consultants. The MAC report has suggested that other occupations currently on the list also need to be extended to include other roles within a category. For instance, this would mean covering all medical practitioners rather than just paediatric consultants.