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What is the Shortage Occupation List and why does it make a difference?

What is the Shortage Occupation List? 

The Shortage Occupation List sets out jobs in short supply in the UK at large, and Scotland specifically.  These jobs can be filled by migrants under the Tier 2 route more easily than others.

Basically the Shortage Occupation List identifies skilled roles which migrants are needed to fill. 

How does it make a difference?

For employers, there are a number of advantages of creating jobs on the shortage occupation list – they are intended to be easier to fill.  

The advantages include: 

  • Foremost, not having to conduct a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). The RLMT can be a time-consuming and burdensome procedure so it a great benefit to sponsors not to have to run this;
  • Lower visa fees are a benefit for migrants;
  • Priority allocation of CoS;
  • An exemption from the minimum income threshold for settlement (ILR) applications;

What is on the list? 

A variety of roles under the broad headings of Science and Engineering; IT, Medicine, Services, Creative Sector and Trade. 

Shortage jobs in Science / Engineering: 

  • 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists
  • 2113 Physical Scientists, limited to: 
    • Engineering geologist
    • Hydrogeologist
    • Geophysicist

The following jobs in the oil and gas industry:

    • Geophysicist
    • Geoscientist 
    • Geologist 
    • Geochemist
    • Technical services manager in the decommissioning and waste areas of the nuclear industry
    • Senior resource geologist and staff geologist in the mining sector
  • 2121 Civil engineers
  • 2122 Mechanical engineers
  • 2123 Electrical engineers
  • 2124 Electronics Engineers
  • 2126 Design and development engineers
  • 2127 Production and process engineers
  • 2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified
  • 2461 Quality control and planning engineers

Shortage jobs in IT: 

  • 2135 IT business analysts, architects and systems designers
  • 2136 Programmers and software development professionals
  • 2137 Web design and development professionals
  • 2139 Information technology and communications professionals – Cyber security specialist

Shortage jobs in Medicine / Therapy:

  • 2211 Medical practitioners
  • 2212 Psychologists
  • 2216 Veterinarians
  • 2217 Medical Radiographers
  • 2222 Occupational therapists
  • 2223 Speech and language therapists
  • 2231 Nurses
  • 3213 Paramedics

Shortage jobs in Education / Professional Services:

  • 2314 Secondary education teaching professionals – limited to: secondary education teachers in the subjects of maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin
  • 2425 Actuaries, economists and statisticians, limited to: 
    • Bio-informatician 
    • Informatician
  • 2431 Architects
  • 2433 Quantity surveyors 
  • 2442 Social workers

Shortage jobs in Creative Sector / Other Trades

  • 3411 Artist
  • 3414 Dancers and choreographers, limited to: 
    • Skilled classical ballet dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom ballet companies. The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a United Kingdom industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland and/or Wales)
    • Skilled contemporary dancers who meet the standard required by internationally recognised United Kingdom contemporary dance companies. The company must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by a United Kingdom industry body such as the Arts Councils (of England, Scotland and/or Wales)
  • 3415 Musicians, limited to:  
    • Skilled orchestral musicians who are leaders, principals, sub-principals or numbered string positions, and who meet the standard required by internationally recognised UK orchestras. The orchestra must be endorsed as being internationally recognised by the Association of British Orchestras.
  • 3416 Arts officers, producers and directors
  • 3421 Graphic designers
  • 5215 Welding trades, limited to: 
    • High integrity pipe welder where the job requires three or more years’ related on-the-job experience
  • 5434 Chefs, limited to: jobs where:
    • The pay is at least £29,570 per year after deductions for accommodation, meals etc; and
    • The job requires five or more years relevant experience in a role of at least equivalent status to the one they are entering; and
    • The job is not in either a fast food or standard fare outlet; and

The job is in one of the following roles:

    • Executive chef – limited to one per establishment
    • Head chef – limited to one per establishment
    • Sous chef – limited to one for every four kitchen staff per establishment
    • Specialist chef – limited to one per speciality per establishment

Who decides what is on the list? 

The shortage occupation lists are recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and are revised periodically.

The above list is current at the date of posting.

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