Following a call for evidence issued by the Migration Advisory Committee in September 2012 on the Shortage Occupation List and review of the creative occupations in Tier 2, the committee published its recommendations on February 15 2013. The report includes the following recommendations:

  • Employment covered by the Shortage Occupation List should be reduced to 180,000 employees - less than 1% of the total workforce; this was in excess of 1 million in 2008, but has been steadily decreased by the committee following its regular reviews.
  • The number of engineering jobs on the Shortage Occupation List should be increased by 20, while jobs in the health sector should be reduced by 19.
  • Jobs should not automatically be removed from the Shortage Occupation List after two years, as is proposed by the government; the committee recommends maintaining the status quo or removing jobs after four years with an opportunity to appeal against removal. Jobs are in any event removed periodically by the committee when they no longer meet the criteria for inclusion. The committee recognises that the government may wish to impose a time limit in order to focus the minds of employers on the need for up-skilling in certain sectors.

The government has also asked the committee to examine whether there should be a separate route within Tier 2 for creative occupations that do not require National Qualifications Framework Level 6 (NQF6), the usual skill level needed to qualify for a Tier 2 visa. The committee suggests maintaining the present system whereby some specified creative occupations do not have to pass the skill threshold – these include actors, authors, artists, dancers and choreographers and product, clothing and related designers.

The chairman of the committee, Professor David Metcalf CBE, has said that overall migration through the Tier 2 visa routes is already limited and therefore the reduced Shortage Occupation List will have only a limited impact on overall migration volumes.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email ( The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at

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