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New recommendations regarding the shortage occupation list

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration


The Migration Advisory Committee made recommendations to the Government on 29th May regarding which occupations should be added to Shortage Occupation List. The list confirms the types of jobs which are considered so hard to fill in the British economy that employers are exempted from advertising for resident applicants should they find a suitable candidate from outside the EEA and need to meet immigration requirements to sponsor the work. Advertising is a major practical barrier to employers making those applications, so this is important.

It is proposed to increase the Shortage Occupation List substantially, reflecting the contraction of the labour market following Brexit and low unemployment. New occupations are suggested for inclusion on the Shortage Occupation List which expand its coverage to 9% of the British labour market rather than the current 1%; those include various health, STEM and engineering roles, architects and, in some circumstances, skilled chefs. It is suggested that specific Shortage Occupation Lists for Wales and Northern Ireland may be helpful to employers. The Government is not obliged to accept these recommendations but has done so in the past.

The importance of the Shortage Occupation List after Brexit remains to be seen. The principal benefit of inclusion at the moment is the waiver of the advertising requirement but, since the Immigration White Paper currently under consideration recommends that should be ended in future with Certificates of Sponsorship allocated primarily based on salary, the future advantages of being included on the list are not clear. The recommendations do, however, appear generally positive news for those who issue Certificates of Sponsorship, particularly to those in the roles affected.