10 September 2008

Strict new list of UK jobs for migrant workers

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A strict new list of jobs for migrant workers has been released by the UK Home Office on Monday, which they say will better meet the needs of local businesses and better reflect the new highly selective immigration process based on the Australian points-based system.

The number of jobs available for migrants will reduce from 1 million to 700,000 under the new list, as advised by the Migration Advisory Council (MAC).  The independent panel of economists recommended the list be reduced by 30 per cent, but also to become a more general list so that it can reflexively move to market conditions.  Unlike the current Shortage Occupation List, the new list also defines which jobs will be difficult to fill with resident workers.

"Our new Australian-style points system is flexible to meet the needs of British business while ensuring that only those we want and no more can come here to work. This tough new shortage occupation list supports that,” said Liam Byrne, Border and Immigration Minister.

"This strict list means 30 per cent fewer jobs are available to migrants via the shortage occupation route,” he added.  "Those that do come will need to work hard, play by the rules and speak English."

MAC will deliver the final draft of the occupation list in time for the Tier 2 category of the new UK skilled migration program to go live in November this year.  Tier 2 requires employers to have a sponsorship licence to employ overseas workers, and to prove they have exhausted the resident worker market before employing an overseas worker. 

"In order for the employer to hire somebody from outside Europe, they have got to meet three hurdles," Professor David Metcalf, the MAC Chairman told the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme.  "First of all, the job has got to be skilled, secondly it's got to be in shortage and third it's got to be sensible to bring the person in."

Some occupations have had specific requirements as part of their inclusion to the jobs list.  For example, salaried GPs are no longer on the list and non-European doctors are barred from working in hospitals except as consultants in specific fields of medicine.  Limits are also placed on foreign teachers, whereby only maths and science teachers are included on the jobs list.  Skilled chefs earning at least £8.10 per hour and skilled senior care workers earning at least £8.80 per hour are also on the list, as well as ballet dancers, vets, skilled sheep shearers and hovercraft officers.


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, UK Visa Bureau


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