UK Tier 2 Work Visa Updates: Employers must conduct Resident Labour Market Test

We recently reported on the UK Government’s changes to the Tier 2 work visa route following the recommendations by the Migratory Advisory Committee (MAC).  Some part of the Government’s implementation of the recommendations is good news as Nursing will continue to remain on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). Foreign trained nurses from outside of the European Economic Area (EEA) can thereby come to the UK to work, however the catch is that employers must conduct the labour market test to ensure that the Applicant is eligible for the Tier 2 visa. We have outlined some of the implications for applicants, employers and sponsors for you below;

Employers must conduct Resident Labour Market Test in order to hire foreign trained nurses

Non-EEA Nurses placed on Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List

The Shortage occupation list (SOL) defines which jobs have a shortage of skilled professionals within a certain profession in the UK. As a result employers looking to hire skilled workers which fall within SOL can bypass certain requirements or thresholds.

Nurses were initially added to the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List on an interim basis in October 2015, to ensure that there was sufficient nursing staff across the NHS.  Evidence from the UK Health Sector has suggested that it will be another three years before there are enough UK trained nurses to meet the current demand. MAC has advised the UK Government that the occupation of nurses should remain on the Shortage Occupation List in the meantime.  This great news for the health sector and allows staffing pressures to continue to be relieved by the recruitment of skilled non EEA workers.

Good News for Tier 2 Sponsors and Employers in the Nursing Industry

The best news for Applicants and Employers is that MAC has advised as a whole that the nursing profession is to be treated as a shortage profession, rather than keeping only certain areas, for example adult nurses on the SOL.

However Applicants and Sponsors (the Health organisations) should be aware that the MAC report raised concerns that allowing nursing to remain on the shortage occupation list could open a stream of visa applications from foreign nurses. With a view to addressing this issue, MAC have suggested that the Government consider inserting a cap on the number of nurses that can be assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) with a suggested limit of 3,000 to 5,000 places in the first year. Mac is likely to review the limit in the future.

Employers should therefore be cautious of the fact that the government could follow the MAC recommendations by restricting or capping the number of nurses who can be allocated a CoS. Furthermore the government in its statement has stated that nurses will remain on the Shortage Occupation List, but sponsors will need to carry out a Resident Labour Market Test before recruiting non-EEA nurses.

Sponsors and Employers can gather from the MAC report that MAC’s preferred long term solution is to recruit staff from within the UK. In the meantime employers and Healthcare recruiters can celebrate the good news whilst we await the Government’s decision on whether it implements any restrictions.

In any case Applicant, Employers and Sponsors should seek legal advice before making the Application for a sponsor licence or for the Tier 2 visa to ensure their application is prepared correctly and to prevent an unsuccessful application.

UK Immigration Advice for Tier 2 Work Visa Applicants and Sponsors

Our team of solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the merits of your Tier 2 visa application by providing you with advice from our leading team of barristers before your matter even reaches the Home Office. Our expert immigration solicitors provide business clients with a tailored service and are on hand to expedite the sponsor licence process. We ensure that we help you achieve and maintain an A rated sponsor licence and provide ongoing compliance checks to ensure you are aware of your duties as a Home Office registered sponsor.

If you have instructed legal representatives and you are unhappy with their conduct you can contact us to discuss your case so that we can provide you with a case assessment. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 02071830570 for a telephone assessment.

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