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UNITED KINGDOM: Migration Advisory Committee Publishes Recommendations for Shortage Occupation List and Creative Occupations in Tier 2

Following a call for evidence issued by the MAC in September 2012 on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and review of the creative occupations in Tier 2, the MAC published the following recommendations on February 15, 2013:

  • Reducing employment covered by the UK's SOL to 180,000 employees, or less than 1 per cent of the total workforce. This was in excess of 1 million in 2008 but the MAC has steadily decreased it following regular reviews;
  • Increasing the number of engineering jobs on the SOL by 20 and reducing the number of jobs in the health sector by 19;
  • Not automatically removing jobs from the SOL after two years, as proposed by the government, but maintaining the status quo or removing jobs after four years with an opportunity to appeal against removal. The MAC removes jobs periodically anyway when they no longer meet the criteria for inclusion. It recognizes that the government may wish to impose some time limit to focus employers on the need for "up-skilling" in certain sectors;
  • Maintaining the present system within Tier 2 for creative occupations that do not require the National Qualifications Framework level 6 (NQF6), the usual skill level needed to qualify for a Tier 2 visa. The government had asked MAC to examine whether there should be a separate route within Tier 2 for such creative occupations. The MAC suggested that the present system should be maintained whereby certain specified creative occupations (actors; authors; artists; dancers; choreographers; and product, clothing, and related designers) do not have to pass the skill threshold.

The chairman of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf, CBE, has said that overall migration through the Tier 2 visa routes is already limited and therefore the reduced SOL will have only a limited impact on overall migration volumes.

February MAC report, "Skilled Shortage Sensible: Full Review of the Recommended Shortage Occupation Lists for the UK and Scotland, a Sunset Clause and the Creative Occupation"

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