The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is a non-departmental public body set to provide the Government with evidence based advice on immigration issues. The MAC has been tasked with conducting a review of the UKBA's shortage occupation list.

The shortage occupation list is relevant to tier 2 sponsors looking to sponsor migrants under tier 2 (general) of the points based system. If the vacancy that the sponsor is looking to fill is on the shortage list, then the sponsor is exempt from carrying out a resident labour market search. This is because the MAC has determined that there are insufficient resident workers to fill that occupation type. For the current shortage occupation list, please click here.

The Committee is requesting 'bottom up evidence' from employers to assist them in assessing where migrant workers are required to fill shortage occupations in the UK.  The three points that the MAC is asking employers to consider are a) whether the role is skilled, b) whether there is a shortage of individuals from within the European Economic Area and c) whether having the particular role on the list is in fact 'sensible'. 

When providing evidence that the role is skilled, employers are being asked to provide evidence showing the typical earnings of the role, the minimum qualifications required with particular reference to NQF level 4 or above, evidence of the required or compulsory level to become a skilled practitioner and to also demonstrate the rarity of the position that exceeds the requirement of a typical NQF4+ job title.

An objective test needs to be applied when assessing whether there is a shortage in a particular field or area.  Employers should put forward evidence of vacancy rates, duration of vacancies, changes in employee's working patterns such as overtime, projected trends of demand and the supply of workers within an occupation.  A more subjective test needs to be applied for employers demonstrating that a shortage occupation in their opinion is sensible.  Employers are asked to show whether they have considered alternatives to employing migrant workers, or whether efforts have been made to train members of the UK labour market.  One of the most important issues to be addressed by employers is whether migrants will be filling jobs that would otherwise have been filled by resident workers.

The deadline for sending your response is next Friday 10 June 2011. The MAC is then due to report back to the Government with their findings by the end of July 2011. 

For the MAC report, please click here.