The Migration Advisory Committee in its latest report, published this week, recommends a major review of the SOL so that includes almost 9% of jobs in the labour market, a significant increase from the current 1%.
The Migration Advisory Committee or otherwise known as MAC offers government advice on its immigration policy, and on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The 398-page review of the SOL recognises the challenges the UK labour market faces in 2019. It notes that the labour market is very different now from the last SOL review in 2013, as whilst unemployment is lower, the vacancies are higher and free movement no longer provides the ready supply of workers, as it once did.
The Shortage Occupation List is relevant to employers who have a Sponsor licence to employ migrant workers from outside the EU. The inclusion of a job role in SOL provides them with exemptions allowing them to bypass the 28-day long Resident Labour Market Test, the £35,000 minimum income threshold for settlement, lower visa fees and priority if the monthly visa cap is reached.
The roles to be added for the first time, include architects, web designers, psychologists and veterinarians, whereas other roles have received extensions to cover all job titles.
The report notes that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the future immigration system is causing considerable concern among employers and stakeholders. It states that the expansion of these jobs will go towards alleviating the concerns of employers.
The recommendations of the MAC report on the Shortage Occupation List will be welcomed by employers, who remain uncertain on their future immigration needs. The expansion of SOL roles will allow employers to expedite recruitment and provide a better offering to their prospective employees.
Once the government accepts these recommendations, SOL will include 2.5 million workers on this list. However, the report notes that these recommendations are only until the concept of freedom of movement remains. This means we can expect a further revision following Brexit, as the shortage of supply workers is likely to increase further.