The Shortage Occupation List (“the List”) is a list of occupations where employers face a shortage of workforce in the UK labour market, and so it is recognised as reasonable to hire migrant workers to fill these roles.
The List is provided for applicants under UK Work visa categories, such as the Skilled Worker or GBM: Senior or Specialist Worker visas. In addition to the impending increase in the Skilled Worker minimum salary threshold that was recently declared by the Government, the Home Office have also announced the plan to remove the current 20% discount on the minimum salary threshold for the roles on the Shortage Occupation List.
Currently, jobs with occupation codes from the Shortage Occupation List benefit from a lower salary threshold (i.e. 20% discount on the going rate for that particular job code), making it easier and more cost-effective for employers to hire migrant workers to fill these roles. With the UK Government’s announcement to tackle UK net migration, this 20% discount will no longer apply from Spring 2024, consequently reducing overall migration figures in the UK.
The List was recently reviewed by the Independent Migrant Advisory Committee with the aim to not only meet the needs of UK businesses, but also to support the UK Government’s prospective plans. The Committee initially reviewed the List in October 2023 and found that the occupations on it should be revised and that the discount of 20% should no longer apply. The Committee also proposed to remove the Shortage Occupation List altogether and replace it with the ‘Immigration Salary Discount List’ in order to more accurately reflect its purpose. Having considered the Committee’s recommendations, the UK Government then announced that the List would be renamed the ‘Immigration Salary List’ and the roles on the List would hold a general threshold discount, rather than the 20% discount on the salary. The occupations are currently being reviewed by the Committee, and the number of roles included in the List is expected to be reduced. It is likely that jobs in technology and engineering will no longer be recognised as shortage occupations.
Considering the removal of the discount on the salary threshold for the roles on the List alongside the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge that will also come into force in 2024, it is likely employers will begin to face financial difficulties in respect of employing migrant workforce. In light of the above, employers are strongly recommended to look into fulfilling their business needs under the current Shortage Occupation List to take advantage of the current Rules while they are still in force.
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The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.