Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) releases full review on the Shortage of Occupation list

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), is an independent body that provides advice to the Home Office on matters of migration. The advice provided by the MAC is non-binding and the onus is on the Home Office to incorporate any recommendations within the Immigration Rules. In the past, we have seen the Home Office take on board advice provided by the MAC in matters of work visas. For the first time since 2013, the MAC has published a full review (398 page report) advising the Home Office on the current Shortage of Occupation List. The Shortage of Occupation list can be found within the Immigration Rules and it lists the jobs where there is a shortage of workers in the UK. These jobs benefit from a number of exemptions making the recruitment process easier for both employers and workers. In the report, the MAC has made a number of suggestions and also raised concerns on the future of the Point Based System work sponsorship route for workers.

What is the Shortage of Occupation list?

The Shortage of Occupation list is incorporated within the Immigration Rules and it can be located within Appendix K to the Immigration Rules. The Home Office recognises there is a shortage of workers in specific fields in the UK and it publishes a Shortage of Occupation list which is regularly updated.  The job roles listed on the list must be skilled to the appropriate level which is currently RQF Level 6 or above and the job must offer a salary in accordance with the Immigration Rules Codes of Practice Appendix J to the Immigration Rules.

There are many advantages for both employers and workers if the job they are advertising or applying for is listed on the Shortage of Occupation list.  The main advantage is that the employer will be exempt from conducting a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). This will save employers a lot of time in the recruitment process and costs as the employer would not be required to advertise the job to a settled worker in the UK for 28 days as per the RLMT requirement. The second advantage is that the jobs are not part of the annual certificate of sponsorship allocation of 20,700 and lastly there is no need for the worker to meet the financial threshold requirement of £35,800 when applying for indefinite leave to remain (also referred to as settlement).  One of the criticisms the Shortage of Occupation list faces is that the definitions of the job roles are not thorough.

What is the latest advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the Shortage of Occupation list?

It is clear that the jobs listed on the Shortage of Occupation list benefit from less stringent requirements such as the exemption from the RLMT, lower salary thresholds and there are lower visa application fees. The MAC has advised the Home Office to increase the number of jobs included on the Shortage of Occupation list. At the moment only 1% of the totals job available are listed and the MAC has advised the Home Office to increase this to 9%. The MAC has also advised the Home office to increase the scope of workers who can apply under the mechanical engineering. At the moment only mechanical engineers who work in the oil and gas industry can apply. The MAC advises that all mechanical engineers appear on the list.  The MAC also advises for new rules to be added to the Shortage of Occupation lists such as web design, architects and some science-related jobs. The MAC also advises that roles on the current list also be expanded to include new roles.

The MAC raises interesting concerns about the future of the Shortage of Occupation List in post-Brexit.  The MAC recommends a further report be commissioned to answer these points and suggests new advantages such as accelerated routes to settlement or a streamlined change of employer process.

Will Brexit impact the future of the Shortage of Occupation list?

A large number of skilled jobs are currently filled by EU workers especially in the public sector but ever since the EU referendum, there has been a dramatic decrease in EU migration which has resulted in a shortage of skilled workers in the UK. Immigration practitioners predict that the situation regarding the shortage of skilled workers is going to get worse before we see a change as the work sponsorship route under the Immigration Rules is too robust and cumbersome. There are instances where workers who meet the requirements are denied a work visa for minor technicalities. However, the Home Office will have no choice to but to make major changes to the current work sponsorship because a number of industries are already complaining of lack of suitable workers i.e. specialist NHS workers, farmers and engineers. It is not clear what changes are going to be implemented but it is likely that the scope of the point based system work permit route will be broadened to EU workers post-Brexit. Alternatively, there will be a separate immigration system for EU national workers. Another possibility is a more relaxed work sponsorship system under the immigration rules a system without the RLMT and a minimum salary threshold.

Using Legal Representation to apply for a work visa on the Shortage of Occupation list

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on the law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with a visa application. Our Solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject visa applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your Immigration & Visa application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.

The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully apply for a work visa on the Shortage of Occupation list

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a work visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a work visa application and are able to advise you in respect of your prospects and to ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a work visa application.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.


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