Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommends that the shortage occupations list is abolished. What could this mean?

13 Oct 2023, 24 mins ago

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is an independent public body that advises the government. They published a report on 3rd October advising that the shortage occupations list (SOL) be abolished.

As it currently stands, the SOL is curated by the government and refers to jobs where the UK have determined they need more workers.

The current requirements stand that an employee can be paid 80% of the job’s usual going rate to qualify for a Skilled Worker visa. This reduced salary threshold is the key benefit for an occupation to be on this list. Therefore, it is largely intended as a way of making it easier for low-wage workers to be recruited into jobs in the UK.

The report shows that the SOL has always served a relatively minor function in immigration policy and its role is now smaller than in previous reviews. The MAC feel that the SOL no longer provides a sensible immigration solution to shortage issues in low-wage sectors.

The Committee’s findings finally suggest that, in order to oppose permitting low-wage firms to pay below the general level for the Skilled Worker route, the SOL (as it is) should either be abolished or significantly changed.

This is partly due to the fact that low-wage workers face the greatest danger of exploitation as a result of the SOL’s laxer pay requirements. They believe that no employer should be permitted to pay less than the “going rate,” which was established to prevent native workers from being undercut and to lessen the possibility of migrants being exploited. As it currently stands, according to the MAC, low-wage migrants are less likely to make a positive net fiscal contribution and some burden may fall on the taxpayer.

The government is yet to respond to this report.

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