Drastic Expansion of UK Shortage Occupation List Now Under Consideration

13 Jun 2019 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Migration Advisory Committee, otherwise known as MAC, recently released a report on the Tier 2 work permit, and the Shortage Occupation List. The group recommended substantial changes to the system, asking hypothetical questions about the future role of the "SOL." The Immigration UK bodies around the country have been officially asked to consider what the SOL will mean in conjunction with the proposed changes to UK visas announced in 2018's whitepaper.

Currently, the SOL offers very narrow definitions of the target roles that should be given priority when it comes to doling out the tier 2 work permit, and other UK work permits. For instance, mechanical engineers were only considered to be in demand for the gas and oil industry in years passed. However, the MAC is now recommending that all mechanical engineers should be on the SOL, regardless of their industry.

If the Home Office takes the recommendations of MAC under consideration and expands the number of roles on the SOL from 1% of all occupations to 9%, there will be a significant change in UK visas. The government is currently in the process of consulting with a range of business groups, employers, economists, and unions in a discussion of the challenges that immigrants will face in the years ahead.

Aside from increasing the number of jobs on the SOL, the MAC group has also asked the government to commission a further report that will answer some of the most pressing questions about how employers will fill specialist roles with limits on the tier 2 work permit.

It's possible that the new report and changes to SOL roles could lead to much lower application fees for people seeing UK visas, as well as an exemption from the £1,000 per year charge for Immigration Skills. Roles not on the Sol, on the other hand, may attract higher fees, encouraging employers to train local workers instead of relying on migrant employees. A lack of change to the SOL could have a significant impact on both start-ups and SMEs, according to the MAC.