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New recommendations to raise UK shortage occupation list to higher skills level and remove jobs such as Senior Care Worker announced by UK Border Agency 3 March 2011. 

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that 8 job titles be removed from the UK shortage occupation list, which in effect means it will not be possible for migrant workers to obtain Tier 2 working visa for those jobs.


This follows MAC’s recommendation last month that 71 occupations be removed from the list of occupations that qualify for Tier 2 of the points-based system in a massive Tier 2 shake-up. This is to meet the government’s objective of raising the skill level of Tier 2 to National Qualifications Framework level 4 and above (NQF4+).

The agency said:

‘To bring the shortage occupation list into line with the rest of Tier 2 the MAC has recommended removing job titles including high integrity pipe welder, skilled meat boner and skilled meat trimmer and skilled senior care worker.’

‘The latter recommendation will not, however, affect care home managers and nurses working in care homes as these occupations are level NQF4+.’

Lower paid Chefs to get the chop

Other job titles are recommended for amendment, including most chefs, as MAC found that ‘only a small proportion of chefs are skilled to NQF4+’.

Chef jobs on the list are, therefore, recommended to be restricted to those requiring a ‘minimum of 5 years relevant experience and paying at least £28,260 per year’.

Chair of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf, said:

‘Placing limits on migration requires that we are far more selective and ensure only highly skilled migrant workers can come to work in the UK.

‘For instance, only the top 5% of chef jobs will be open to Tier 2 workers under these recommendations as a result of a more stringent earnings threshold.’

The MAC estimates these recommendations, if accepted, will mean Tier 2 applicants coming into the country via the shortage occupation route will only be eligible for approximately 230,000 jobs (less than 1 per cent of the labour market), down from 1 million jobs when the MAC produced its first shortage occupation list in 2008. The combined impact of these recommendations plus those made by the MAC last month will be that the proportion of jobs in the UK labour market at a skill level eligible for Tier 2 will fall from 56% to 39%.

The government will respond before 6 April 2011 to the MAC’s recommendations. Source: UK Border Agency.

The announcement will be a bitter blow to the care and catering industries which desperately needs staff for jobs officially recognised on the MAC recommended shortage occupations list.

MAC was set up as an independent body by the previous administration to advise the government on employment trends and to recommend a shortage list of those occupations where vacancies could not be filled by the EU labour force.

The reason they recruit overseas workers, such as Senior Carers, is they have been unable to fill posts from the resident labour market. 

In February the Home Office has unveiled details of a radical overhaul to the Tier 2 working visa route, scraping much of the sponsorship scheme employers signed up to when the Work Permit scheme was replaced by the points based system two years ago. The government has made its intention clear to slash immigration from the ‘hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands’.

 See also:

Tier 2 Working visa reforms announced by UK Border Agency

71 shortage occupations to be removed from Tier 2 visas in points-based shake up

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