UK Immigration - Shortage occupation list changes now in effect for Tier 2 visas

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UK immigration's shortage occupation list changes for the Tier 2 immigration route is now in effect. The changes affect those applying for Tier 2 visas, making it more difficult for some workers to seek employment in the UK.

The recommended list was announced by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and accepted by the UK immigration department on 18 October and went into effect beginning 14 November.

UK immigration claims the list was created in order to ensure the UK only accepts migrant workers that the country needs. The changes affect professionals from non-EU countries who come to the UK for work, under the Tier 2 immigration route. If an employer wishes to fill a position for an occupation on this list, they can offer the position to a foreign national without advertising the vacancy.

Skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to work in the UK must apply for visas via this route and employers can only bring someone into the UK under a Tier 2 visa if the job is on the shortage occupation list. Additionally, the employer can accept a foreign worker if they pass a resident labour market test, meaning no suitable resident workers apply after advertising the job in the UK first for 4 weeks.

In order to apply under the UK's Tier 2 immigration route, applicants must have a job offer from a licensed sponsor and a valid certificate of sponsorship and pass a points-based assessment.

The changes to remove several occupations were recommended by the MAC where evidence from a range of industries and sectors showed resident workers are available to fill the vacancies.

Occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list include:
  • secondary education biology teachers;
  • speech and language therapists;
  • pharmacists;
  • orthoptists;
  • veterinary surgeons;
  • rank and file orchestral musicians;
  • actuaries;
  • high integrity pipe welders;
  • environmental scientists; and,
  • geochemists
The government has accepted the MAC's recommended list in full however, rank and file orchestral musicians will not be removed from the list immediately, until further discussions take place with the industry to discuss the resident labour market test.

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