The UK Shortage Occupation List

After another tumultuous week in British politics over Brexit, the media is speculating on whether the government will achieve a signed Brexit deal or whether the country will end up with no deal and, if so, what ‘’no deal ‘’ will mean for the economy. However employers and the best London immigration solicitors have already started to see the impact of the referendum and more recently the Brexit negotiations on the number of migrants wanting to come to the UK to find Employment.    

In the media it is reported that employers are warning that skills shortages are and will continue to hold back the economy. The best London immigration solicitors are seeing an increase in enquiries about the Shortage Occupation List from both employer sponsors and migrants considering their visa options. 

The Shortage Occupation List 

At present, if an employer wants to employ a non-EEA or Swiss national to fill a skilled job vacancy in the UK, the employer needs to ensure that the employee has a Tier 2 general or skilled worker visa. To secure the visa the job either has to be advertised to fulfil the resident labour market test or the job role has to be listed on the UK Shortage Occupation List. If the role is on the Shortage Occupation List the vacancy does not first need to be advertised in accordance with the resident labour market test.    

What is the UK skills gap?

The job roles and professions listed at any one time on the UK Shortage Occupation List is, in effect, the UK skills gap as they are job roles that the government has acknowledged cannot be met by national recruitment alone.

What jobs are on the UK Shortage Occupation List? 

The top London immigration solicitors would always recommend that employers take Immigration advice on what jobs are on the UK Shortage Occupation List because the occupations on the list regularly change depending on the skills gap.

At present, the occupations on the list are diverse with many being very specialist, for example:

• Engineers in a range of industries including mechanical in the gas and oil industry and electronic engineers in the automotive industry; and

• Cyber security specialists with at least 5 years of experience and Employment with a qualifying company; and 

• Certain medical professionals such as geriatric psychiatrists and consultants in emergency medicine , nurses and paramedics; and 

• Some types of secondary education school teachers limited to areas of teaching such as mathematics; and  

• Specialist artists for job roles in specific areas such as gaming or the film industry and animation; and 

• Dancers in set categories, such as classical ballot at a very high level of skill.

The Shortage Occupation List goes on and on and includes some surprising entries, such as chefs, economists and statisticians.  Although the list contains a wide variety of occupations the important aspect is to look at the detailed requirements for each occupation, for example, number of years of experience in the industry or the very specific sub area of expertise. It is equally important, in the view of the best London immigration solicitors to make sure that the chosen occupation remains on the list at the time of any visa application.  

What type of visa is needed to start Employment on a job on the UK Shortage Occupation List? 

If a non-EEA or Switzerland national migrant has been offered Employment in a job that is on the Shortage Occupation List, they can apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa provided that they will be employed by a licensed sponsor company who has to provide a certificate of sponsorship.

Who is eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa? 

Many companies and migrants assume that if a job is on the Shortage Occupation List that it is sufficient for a Tier 2 (General) visa to be granted but a visa applicant also has to:

• Have a valid certificate of sponsorship from an employer company; and 

• Be able to prove knowledge of English; and 

• Provide a criminal record certificate if the job entails working with vulnerable people; and 

• Be able to show an ability to travel and a 5 year travel history; and 

• Have savings to support themselves upon arrival in the UK; and 

• Show that they are receiving an appropriate salary for the job.

What is an appropriate salary for a job on the Shortage Occupation List?

What is an ‘’appropriate salary’’ for a job on the Shortage Occupation List is not straight forward. The top London immigration solicitors recommend that specialist advice is taken as there are some roles where a job applicant does not have to meet the appropriate salary criteria, for example, nursing or paramedic jobs.

Generally, the salary for a job on the Shortage Occupation List must be at least £30,000 per year or the salary must be the ‘’appropriate salary’’ for the specific job. The Home Office has issued detailed guidance on the definition of appropriate salary by way of immigration rules and codes of practice for Tier 2 sponsors.

A review of the Shortage Occupation List 

In the midst of falling migration and ongoing Brexit negotiations in October 2018 the Government asked the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake a review of the Shortage Occupation List and its suitability to meet the needs of the UK economy given the current domestic labour market. The report from the Migrant Advisory Committee is expected to be published in Spring 2019. 

Ongoing reviews of the Shortage Occupation List emphasises the need to take specialist advice from top London immigration solicitors on the Shortage Occupation List and to ensure that the application for a Tier 2 (General) visa is secured with the submission of the correct paperwork and supporting documentation.

OTS Solicitors regularly advise on the UK Shortage Occupation List and Tier 2 visa applications, having substantial expertise in securing Tier 2 (General) visas. By asking OTS Solicitors to give advice on the certificate of sponsorship process or Tier 2 visa application, an employee or migrant will be in expert hands with an experienced Immigration lawyer guiding them through the Immigration process and all the Home Office rules and regulations.

OTS Solicitors are specialist in Immigration law matters based in London. The firm is recommended for Immigration law in the Legal 500 publication of leading UK lawyers. OTS Solicitors have Law Society accredited solicitors status as trusted specialists in Immigration law.

For more information on Tier 2 visas or any other aspect of Immigration law, please call us on 0203 959 9123 to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experienced London immigration solicitors who will be happy to help.



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