The number of skilled posts open to non-EU migrants on the shortage occupation list will be slashed by half, the Immigration Minister Damian Green has announced.

Currently, approximately 500,000 individuals are employed in jobs on the list but this number will fall to around 230,000. The list contains jobs which are hard to fill within the UK and EU work force.

The changes come after the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was asked to review the skill shortages within the UK.

Under new rules, non EU migrants will only be able to apply for skilled jobs if the post requires applicants to hold qualifications at graduate or equivalent level. As a result posts including meat trimmers, sheep shearers and chefs working in takeaway restaurants, will no longer be open to non-EU migrants. Chefs from outside the European Economic Area will only be allowed to work in the UK if they have at least five years experience and are earning more than £28,000 per year.

The list could be cut further after the MAC were asked to review it again, in response to unemployment levels rising in the last quarter of 2010.