Following a call for evidence issued by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in September 2012 on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) and review of the creative occupations in Tier 2, the MAC published its recommendations on 15 February. In summary it recommends:-
A reduction in employment covered by the UK’s SOL to 180,000 employees, less than 1 per cent of the total workforce; this was in excess of 1 million in 2008 but has been steadily decreased by the MAC following its regular reviews
The number of engineering jobs on the SOL should be increased by 20 and jobs in the health sector reduced by 19
Jobs should not automatically be removed from the SOL after two years as proposed by the government and it recommends maintaining the status quo or removing jobs after four years with an opportunity to appeal against removal. Jobs are in any event removed periodically by the MAC when they no longer meet the criteria for inclusion. It recognises that the government may wish to impose some time limit in order to focus the minds of employers on the need for up-skilling in certain sectors
The government also asked the MAC to examine whether or not there should be a separate route within Tier 2 for creative occupations which do not require the National Qualifications Framework level 6 (NQF6) – the usual skill level needed to qualify for a Tier 2 visa. The MAC suggests maintaining the present system whereby some specified creative occupations do not have to pass the skill threshold – these include actors, authors, artists, dancers and choreographers and product, clothing and related designers
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. Please click on the following link to see the report.