Andrew Osborne Joanna Hunt Naomi Hanrahan-Soar Stephen O'Flaherty October 14 2020 MAC publishes report recommending expanded shortage occupation lists Lewis Silkin | Employment & Immigration - United Kingdom Andrew Osborne, Joanna Hunt, Naomi Hanrahan-Soar, Stephen O'Flaherty Employment & Immigration IntroductionWhat benefit will there be to an occupation being accepted as being in shortage?What occupations are recommended for deletion?What occupations are recommended for inclusion?New inclusions to UK-wide SOLNew inclusions to SOL for ScotlandNew SOL for WalesNew SOL for Northern IrelandIntroductionThe Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended a significant expansion of the occupations deemed to be in shortage for the purposes of sponsorship under the new skilled worker category, which will replace Tier 2 (General) from 1 January 2021. The Home Office will now need to consider the recommendations and finalise the Immigration Rules for skilled workers.The report was published on 29 September 2020. In it, the MAC has erred on the side of being more willing to recommend some occupations for inclusion on the shortage occupation lists (SOLs) on the basis that it is sensible to do so in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.The MAC has suggested that it would be appropriate for a minor review of SOLs to take place on an annual basis, with a major review to be scheduled every three years once the economy is no longer affected by the pandemic. New occupations could be added following a minor review and others flagged for removal but not actually removed. However, occupations at risk of removal would be flagged. A major review would involve a full assessment of all occupations. This would replace the current ad hoc approach with a predictable schedule of reviews, providing more timely responses to changing labour market conditions and more predictability for employers.What benefit will there be to an occupation being accepted as being in shortage?In general, rather than being paid at least the higher of either £25,600 or the going rate for their occupation, migrants filling shortage occupation roles will need to be paid only at least the higher of £20,480 or 80% of the going rate for their occupation. Lower rates also apply for occupations covered by a national pay scale and to individual migrants who have a PhD that is relevant to their role or who fall within the definition of being a 'new entrant' to the labour market.Employers outside of the highest earning cities in the United Kingdom will find it more affordable to sponsor individuals in shortage occupations under skilled worker than under the present Tier 2 (General). However, the overall cost of sponsorship will still be high, so some employers may opt instead to wait for a candidate who requires no sponsorship or offshore or eliminate roles through business restructuring.What occupations are recommended for deletion?Chefs are not considered to be appropriate for continued recognition at the present time, but the position will be reviewed in the MAC's proposed 2021 report. This Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) Level 3 occupation will be eligible for sponsorship under the skilled worker route; however, employers will have to pay at least £25,600 to do so, which represents a wage level at the 70th percentile for this occupation. Once the economy has recovered from the effects of the pandemic, employers will likely ask for chefs to be added back on to the list as it will in many cases be uneconomic to sponsor them otherwise.What occupations are recommended for inclusion?The new skilled worker route will cover occupations from RQF Level 3 (A-level equivalent) and higher, whereas Tier 2 (General) covers only occupations from RQF Level 6 (degree-level equivalent). Therefore, it is unsurprising that the suggestion is to significantly expand the lists at the present time.If accepted by the Home Office, the occupations recognised as being in shortage would rise from approximately 9% of total UK employment to approximately 14%.The bulk of the newly recommended occupations fall within RQF Levels 3 to 5. The Scotland-only list has been flagged for expansion and new lists for Wales and Northern Ireland have been recommended for the first time.At least initially, the MAC recommends retaining all of the currently recognised shortage occupations at RQF Level 6 or above. In addition, three new occupations (health services and public health managers and directors, pharmacists and physiotherapists) have been considered suitable for inclusion on the UK-wide list. One new RQF Level 6 occupation, health professionals not elsewhere classified (nec), has been recommended for the Wales-only list, which covers job titles such as:audiologist;dental hygiene therapist;dietician-nutritionist;family planner;occupational health adviser; andparamedical practitioner.Senior care workers, nursing assistants and a range of other health occupations are reluctantly recommended for recognition as being in shortage. The MAC's view is that although it would be better for wage funding to be increased to address a lack of staff to fill these roles, the end of free movement for EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members will place significant pressure on the social care sector if this does not happen soon or at all. However, employers of senior care workers should be aware that the Home Office is likely to heavily scrutinise whether a particular migrant's duties and responsibilities meet the definition of being a 'senior' carer.Two occupations have been recommended for 'upgrade' to RQF Level 3, meaning that they will be eligible for sponsorship under the skilled worker route. These are vent chick sexers and deckhands on large fishing vessels of nine metres and above. Deckhands have also been recommended for inclusion as a shortage occupation.Below is a listing of the new occupations recommended for inclusion. These are in addition to the occupations currently recognised at RQF Level 6 and above as set out in Appendix J of the Immigration Rules.New inclusions to UK-wide SOLStandard Occupational Classification (SOC) code and descriptionJob titles included on the UK SOL and further criteria1181 Health services and public health managers and directorsAll jobs in this occupation code1242 Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietorsAll jobs in this occupation code2213 PharmacistsAll jobs in this occupation code2314 Secondary education teaching professionalsSecondary education teachers in all modern foreign languages are now recommended rather than just teachers of Mandarin3111 Laboratory TechniciansAll jobs in this occupation code3131 IT operations techniciansAll jobs in this occupation code3412 Authors, writers and translatorsInterpreters only3539 Business and related associate professionals necOnly data analysts and business analysts3565 Inspectors of standards and regulationsOnly meat hygiene inspectors (also known as official auxiliaries)5112 Bricklayers and masonsAll jobs in this occupation code5119 Agricultural and fishing trades necOnly those jobs in the fishing industry5212 Moulders, core makers and die castersAll jobs in this occupation code5215 Welding tradesAll jobs in this occupation code are recommended for inclusion, rather than just high-integrity pipe welders where the job requires at least three years' on-the-job experience5223 Metal working production and maintenance fittersAll jobs in this occupation code5231 Vehicle technicians, mechanics and electriciansAll jobs in this occupation code5241 Electricians and electrical fittersAll jobs in this occupation code5249 Electrical and electronic trades necOnly the following jobs in this occupation code: fire alarm technicians and electronics hardware design engineers5431 ButchersAll jobs in this occupation code6131 Veterinary nursesAll jobs in this occupation code6141 Nursing auxiliaries and assistantsAll jobs in this occupation code6144 Houseparents and residential wardensAll jobs in this occupation code6146 Senior care workersAll jobs in this occupation code9119 Fishing and other elementary agricultural occupations necOnly the following jobs in this occupation code: deckhands on large fishing vessels (nine metres and above) with at least three years' full-time experience using their skillsNew inclusions to SOL for ScotlandSOC code and descriptionJob titles included on the Scotland-only SOL and further criteria2127 Production and process engineersOnly chemical engineers in the nuclear industry3234 Housing officersAll jobs in this occupation code6121 Nursery nurses and assistantsAll jobs in this occupation code6122 Childminders and related occupationsAll jobs in this occupation codeNew SOL for WalesSOC code and descriptionJob titles included on the Wales-only SOL and further criteria2219 Health professionals necAll jobs in this occupation codeNew SOL for Northern IrelandSOC code and descriptionJob titles included on the Northern Ireland-only SOL and further criteria3234 Housing officersAll jobs in this occupation code5112 Horticultural workersAll jobs in this occupation code5432 Bakers and flour confectionersAll jobs in this occupation code5433 Fishmongers and poultry dressersAll jobs in this occupation codeFor further information on this topic please contact Andrew Osborne, Joanna Hunt, Naomi Hanrahan-Soar or Stephen O'Flaherty at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or stephen.o'[email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.