Shortage Occupation List – Updates
The UK government compiles a list of skilled worker positions it considers to be in short supply called the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). The immigration regulations for work visas are more lenient for positions on the SOL, making it simpler for foreign workers with the necessary abilities to enter the UK.
Employers have until May 26, 2023, to present their arguments for why particular job positions and kinds ought to be added to or maintained on the list.
The MAC has stated that, as with their prior studies, they will take this evidence into account when determining which professions are in short supply in the UK and whether it is suitable to replace these shortages with foreign workers. These positions might then be added to the list, giving firms access to the skilled worker route with lower wage requirements and application fees.
Getting employment on the list seems like a victory for many industries that are having trouble filling vacancies, giving them public notice of the shortages they experience.
In 2008, just around the time the points-based system was introduced, the MAC was established to examine the list. The intention was, and still is, that they will give the government transparent, unbiased advice supported by data on where there is a need for qualified labour that can be rationally filled by immigration.
The list was significant for the Tier 2 (General) approach. It gave firms the opportunity to forgo advertising a position in accordance with the “resident labour market test,” in addition to lowering the salary thresholds and visa fees.
For 28 days, an employer had to submit an advertisement (with certain content) in two locations (with screenshots taken on specific dates) to demonstrate that no one else in the settled labour force was qualified for the position. It gave companies and representatives a tonne of headaches by extending processing periods from weeks to months and, in some cases, resulting in applications being denied for minor requirements violations.
The resident labour market test was eliminated when the skilled worker route was introduced in late 2020, which caused a cork to pop in UK immigration policies. This greatly streamlined the procedure for both sponsorship applications that involved shortages and those that did not.
What are the advantages of the Shortage Occupation List?
The shortage occupation list still has some significant advantages for firms when using the skilled worker option. In order to be considered for a position on the list, a candidate must only be paid 80% of the market rate for that position or a minimum of £20,960, whichever is lower. For some positions, there are lower application fees. For instance, for a three-year visa, applicants based in the UK pay £719 while those from outside the UK pay £625. However, for applicants who have jobs on the list, this amount drops to £479. Additionally, there is a favourable system for those who wish to apply for settlement after five years, as reduced salary ceilings will be in effect.