04 March 2011

New occupational recommendations for the Tier 2 UK Visa program

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The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that eight job titles be removed from the UK shortage occupation list to bring the list in line with the rest of Tier 2.

UK Visa

UK Visa changes recommended by MAC include raising chef jobs to require a minimum of five years' experience and a wage of £28,260 per year.

This follows the MAC's recommendation last month that 71 occupations be removed from the list of occupations that qualify for a UK Visa under Tier 2 of the points-based system to meet the government's objective of raising the skill level to National Qualifications Framework level 4 and above.

MAC has recommended removing job titles including high integrity pipe welder, skilled meat boner and skilled meat trimmer and skilled senior care worker. The latter recommendation will not, however, affect care home managers and nurses working in care homes as these occupations are level NQF4+.

Some job titles are recommended for amendment as MAC found that only a small proportion of chefs are skilled to NQF4+. Chef jobs on the list are, therefore, recommended to be restricted to those requiring a minimum of five years relevant experience and paying at least £28,260 per year.

Chair of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf, said: “Placing limits on migration requires that we are far more selective and ensure only highly skilled migrant workers can come to work in the UK.

“For instance, only the top 5% of chef jobs will be open to Tier 2 workers under these recommendations as a result of a more stringent earnings threshold.”

If these recommendations are accepted, it will mean Tier 2 applicants coming into the country via the shortage occupation route will only be eligible for approximately 230,000 jobs (less than 1 per cent of the labour market), down from 1 million jobs when the MAC produced its first shortage occupation list in 2008.

The government will respond before 6 April 2011 to the MAC's recommendations.

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