The demand for AI specialists continues to rise in the United Kingdom, and the role of immigration in filling skills gaps is increasingly critical.
A recent recommendation from the Migration Advisory Committee may have further significant implications for UK employers and their ability to recruit international AI specialists. In this blog, we explore how the Migration Committee’s recommendation, if accepted, may reshape the landscape for businesses looking to hire AI talent from around the world.
The Migration Advisory Committee’s Recommendation:
The Migration Advisory Committee has proposed a significant change in the recruitment of international talent. Their recommendation suggests abolishing the shortage occupation list and retaining a single “going rate” for jobs, irrespective of whether there is a shortage. This means that if you are an employer and your business seeks global AI specialists, you may no longer be able to offer salaries below a specified threshold when hiring internationally.
Removing the shortage occupation list signifies a commitment to promoting a level playing field for AI professionals. Instead of relying on overseas talent, your business may need to invest in the training and development of local talent, further boosting investment in AI education and research, which ultimately is the main incentive of UK government.
Impact on AI Specialist Recruitment:
The AI industry thrives on diversity and the global exchange of knowledge and expertise. AI specialists often possess unique skill sets and experience that may not be readily available within the UK workforce. Consequently, UK employers have relied on recruiting AI professionals from around the world to meet their specific needs. The Migration Committee’s recommendation poses several challenges to UK employers wishing to hire international candidates:
Salary Considerations: If the “going rate” is set at a high level, as an employer, you may face increased costs when hiring international AI specialists.
Competition for Talent: The global AI job market is fiercely competitive. With this recommendation in place, UK employers may find it challenging to compete with other countries in attracting AI specialists, who are in high demand.
Local Talent Development: Whilst the recommendation promotes the development of local talent, it may take time for UK professionals to acquire the specialised skills required in AI. In the interim, as an employer, you may experience skills shortages.
Regulatory Compliance: As an employer, you must ensure that you adhere to the new regulations when hiring foreign talent, which may require an adjustment in your recruitment and on-boarding processes.
The Migration Committee’s recommendation, if accepted, has the potential to reshape the recruitment landscape for AI specialists in the UK. Whilst it presents challenges for employers, it also offers an opportunity to foster the growth of local talent and promote fairness in the labour market. If you are an employer in the AI sector, you must adapt your strategies to continue attracting top international talent and maintain your competitive edge while complying with the new regulations. In this evolving landscape, collaboration and flexibility will be key to meeting the demands of the ever-expanding AI industry.
Whether you are a technology enthusiast, a business leader, or an investor, it is clear that AI is the way forward, and 2024 promises to be a year where the world will witness astonishing advancements in this field. Watch this space for strategies to overcome these challenges.
How Gherson can assist
Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.
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.