Expansion of Shortage Occupation List won’t halt recruitment crisis

Recent changes to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List will fail to make an impact, according to Jamie Bryant founder of UK Visas.

Bryant suggests that the expansion of the Shortage Occupation List alone is not enough to avoid an impending national recruitment crisis.

The Shortage Occupation List defines jobs that employers can offer migrants without first checking local labour markets. Designed to expedite the recruitment process for jobs that are difficult to fill, the list has now been expanded to include widespread occupations such as IT professionals, civil engineers, vets and social workers. This is an acknowledgement that the skills shortage is now affecting a much wider job market.

Yet, while the number of occupations on the list has risen dramatically, the 20,700 cap on the number of migrant workers that can enter the UK each year remains the same, except for the recent exclusion of nurses and doctors.

If demand for sponsorship of new entrants exceeds the monthly allowance of around 1,700, PhD and ‘shortage’ occupations take precedence. As a result of the expanded shortage list, it is likely employers of all non-shortage jobs will now struggle to get the necessary Certificate of Sponsorship.  Or, at best, it will be limited to higher paid jobs.

Bryant comments: “The unchanged cap on migrant worker numbers is at odds with the realities of the situation; UK businesses must be able to rely on overseas workers to fill positions.

“Until the government raises the cap, it will only be a matter of time before Britain’s businesses, and therefore its residents, suffer the consequences of understaffing.”

According to a report by the British Chamber of Commerce, three quarters of UK businesses are struggling to fill vacant roles. The second Quarterly Recruitment Outlook for 2019 shows that while 53 per cent of 6,000 businesses polled attempted to hire new employees, 73 per cent of them found it difficult to successfully recruit.

Article published 22nd November 2019