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UK announce more non-EU restrictions on Tier 2 working visas | Immigration Matters

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The Migration Advisory Committee has this week advised that the Home Office official Shortage Occupation List will be ‘revised’ to ‘restrict migrants from outside the European Economic Area to a smaller proportion of occupations within the UK labour market’.

Skilled migrants from outside the EU will be barred from a further 70,000 jobs, including vets and orchestral musicians, under the latest revision of shortage list, published on Monday.

The Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations, which are likely to be endorsed by the Home Secretary Theresa May, are for the list be slashed to cover 190,000 employees (not migrants) or well under 1 per cent of the UK workforce.  

The list previous covered over 1 million jobs in 2008, when the points based system was introduced by the previous government, before the MAC recommended changes.

The occupations, which are also subject to an annual limit of 20,700, are the only positions open to migrants from outside the European Economic Area under the shortage occupation route of Tier 2 of the of Points Based System.

The latest MAC recommended list provides a more detailed breakdown of the sectors of the labour market affected by shortage. This has enabled the MAC to identify individual job titles rather than broader occupations.

Professor David Metcalf CBE, Chairman, MAC, said:

‘Although the proportion of the labour market covered by our new recommended list is lower than before, our recommendation will have only a limited impact on migration volumes because overall migration through Tier 2 is limited. However, the list is more selective than before: it is targeted specifically on those job titles where there is currently a clear evidence of shortage.

‘We think it is vital that the government, employers and the training sector take concerted action to raise the skill levels of the UK workforce, especially in long-standing shortage occupation areas. This will reduce the UK’s reliance on migrant workers in the long term and provide real benefits for the economy as a whole.’

A total of 29 job titles are recommended for removal from the list. They include: secondary school biology teachers; consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology; paediatric surgery; nuclear medicine and paediatric dentistry; veterinary surgeons; and tutti orchestral musicians.

The 33 jobs are to be added to the list including: consultants in emergency medicine; actuaries; specific roles within the visual effects and 2D/3D computer animation for film; television and the video games sectors; high integrity pipe welders; environmental scientists; and operations managers in the decommissioning areas of the nuclear industry and geochemists.

The news will come as a blow to the thousands of non-EU migrants and students hoping to obtain Tier 2 working visas in the UK, but there are still opportunities in almost 200,000 jobs. 

A report earlier this month revealed that nine out of ten people who joined the workforce last year were foreign nationals.

In the health care sector employers are increasingly turning to EU workers from A8 countries and A2 Bulgaria and Romania to fill hundreds of vacancies.

Despite high UK unemployment healthcare support workers or care assistants are still desperately needed by care home employers who cannot fill vacancies locally.

The changes do not affect EU workers, but restrictions remain on Bulgarian and Romanian citizens.

Despite the fact that they are EU members, when it comes to employment Bulgarian and Romanian citizens do not have the same rights as other Europeans, for instance from Poland, Slovakia or other A8 Accession countries. 

Those who exercise their Treaty Rights (under Article 39) and apply for an accession card as self employed persons or as students taking vocational or sandwich courses (e.g. NVQ/QCF in Health and Social Care), are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards, but they have to apply for this and jump through several hoops.

Romanian Student receives Yellow Card at Majestic College

See also: 

Do we actually need foreign nurses, especially those with poor English who are a risk? Lord Winston asks  

Comprehensive Sickness Insurance now required for Bulgarian and Romanian study work yellow cards 

UK firms plan to recruit more EU migrants to fill job vacancies Health care workers needed in UK now 

Crimes by EU citizens treble figures reveal 

BR1 Form for ‘Yellow Card’ Registration revisedImmigration Rules for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals  

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit 

Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.For more information call Joanna on 0208 207 1020 or email 


Free presentations are being run at Bison UK Immigration Advisers for Employers, Romanians and Bulgarians – Monday to Friday, from 11am-12noon and 3-4pm. No need to book, just turn up.Venue: 16 Shenley Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire WD6 1DL. Nearest Train Station: Elstree and Borehamwood Station; Buses from Edgware underground station: 107 and 292.

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