The UK Border Agency has published the latest approved shortage occupation lists for Tier 2 of the points-based System, largely following recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) in April.
The new list includes for the first time Care Assistants and Home Carers at a reduced qualification and experience threshold.
Under the Work Permit scheme, which was replaced by Tier 2 last November, a skilled Senior Care Worker had to be qualified to NQF (National Qualification Framework) level 3 and have three years relevant experience.
The Government have followed the independent committee’s recommendation that the qualification threshold for overseas Social Care Workers be changed to NQF Level 2, the relevant experience to just two years and the minimum salary cut from £8.80 to £7.80.
What’s in a name?
Although MAC recommendations state that ‘Care Assistants’ be included on the shortage list, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) list states that “only the following job title within this occupation: skilled senior care worker” and with “and will have supervisory responsibilities”.
Care Assistants, unlike Senior Care Assistants, do not usually have supervisory experience and this will no doubt cause some confusion and debate.
The UKBA add a separate note where “there is a requirement for senior care workers to be qualified at NQF level 3 or above (currently only the case in Scotland and Wales)”.
The revised list may be welcomed in the Care Sector, as well as Senior Carers on Work Permits and NVQ students hoping to get one, but the minimum salary level remains too high for many employers.
Evelie Padadac of Immigration Adviser’s Bison UK said:
“I have already been advising clients about this shortage occupation list for Care Assistants, but the difficulty is that employers are not willing or able to pay the £7.80 per hour”.
Skilled Chefs are on the shortage menu for jobs paying at least £8.45 per hour, but are under review over the next 6 months.
Nurses are included, but only in theatre, critical care (critical units with a level 2 or level 3 classification) and operating department practitioners.
Social workers are restricted to those working in children’s and family services.
Other shortage occupations
Other occupations to make the list include: Maths and science Teachers at secondary level, Medical practitioners in certain specialist areas at Consultant level, for instance in chemical pathology, clinical neurophysiology, and at non-consultant level in specific areas like anaesthetics, emergency medicine, general surgery and intensive care medicine.
Pharmacists/Pharmacologists, Medical Radiographers, Dental practitioners, Medical and Dental Technicians, Speech and Language Therapists, Therapists (n.e.c), Biological Scientists and Biochemists and Veterinarians make the list with strict conditions.
In the arts, Photographers and Audio Visual equipment operators, Orchestral Musicians and Dancers and Choreographers make the list but in specialist areas only.
Sponsoring employers must refer to the Tier 2 ‘codes of practice’ for detailed information on appropriate salary rates, and on the evidence they need to keep to show that the shortage occupation criteria have been met, otherwise your non-EU employee may be refused. See related article: Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship from an employer does not guarantee you a working visa
For full details of the shortage occupations list see: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/workingintheuk/shortageoccupationlist
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: