On 9 September 2019, the government published Statement of Changes HC2631. Among anumerous other changes, the government implemented the earlier recommendations from the MAC to extend the UK-wide Shortage Occupation List. The changes, mean that all roles with certain Standard Occupational Classification codes are now deemed shortage occupations, particularly health and social care, engineering and digital technology occupations. Prior to these changes, only some roles within these occupation codes were deemed shortage occupation. Similarly, digital technology (also known as digitech) roles on the existing shortage list also required the employer to be a ‘qualifying company’. The Statement of Changes removed this requirement and the definition of a ‘qualifying company’ criteria entirely.
The amendments to the shortage list allows employers to hire workers from outside the EEA more easily. They should also help meet labour shortage demands across a range of sectors where employers have reported they find it difficult to fill vacancies. Where a role is on the shortage list this removes the requirement for employers looking to sponsor workers for a Tier 2 (General) visa to first run a resident labour market test. This means employers looking to hire into shortage roles no longer have to advertise the position in the specified manner, nor are they prevented from hiring the most suitable qualified candidate on the basis that there was a settled worker with the required skills.
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