The shortage occupation list is an official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies. Several times a year, the government and the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) regularly release an up-to-date list of all the industries and occupations that urgently require more staff or vacancies.
How does this effect IMGs?
In May 2019, the MAC recommended that ‘Medical Practitioners’ be added to the UK Shortage Occupation List and in October 2019 this was confirmed. The British Medical Association has stated: 'It's very clear that overseas doctors have always made a valuable contribution to the success of our health service; their contribution is needed now more than ever’.
In light of this, international recruitment of doctors has increased. Not only this, but overseas doctors no longer have to meet extortionate visa fees and financial thresholds to work within the NHS.
Does this effect Tier 2 Visas?
The standard UK work visa is the Tier 2 visa, which has a points-based application system. In total you must secure 70 points to qualify for the Tier 2 Visa, 30 of which rely on your Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from your UK employer and whether your salary will meet the UK requirements. However, due to the Shortage Occupation List, IMG’s that come to the UK to fill a position now gain enough points without having to prove their potential earnings.
Additionally, the cost of a Tier 2 Work Visa on the Shortage Occupation List is almost 25% less than occupations that don’t appear on it. What’s more, if you want to obtain permanent UK residency after your Tier 2 visa has expired, you will be exempt from the minimum income threshold and salary requirement of £35,000.
Will the Shortage Occupation List Change?
The Shortage Occupation List is regularly reviewed by both government and the MAC. However, it is important to note that removal of an occupation from the list does not mean that a Tier 2 application will not be granted for any vacancy that exists.
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Bma.org.uk. (2020). BMA - Government widens job shortage list. [online] Available at: https://www.bma.org.uk/news/2019/may/government-widens-job-shortage-list [Accessed 31 Jan. 2020].
S. (2020). Shortage occupation list. [online] Nhsemployers.org. Available at: https://www.nhsemployers.org/your-workforce/recruit/employer-led-recruitment/international-recruitment/shortage-occupation-list [Accessed 31 Jan. 2020].
AWH Solicitors. (2020). Coming to Work in the UK with Skills on the UK Shortage Occupation List. [online] Available at: https://awhsolicitors.co.uk/articles/immigration/shortage-occupation-list/ [Accessed 31 Jan. 2020].