UK likely to axe more jobs from the Skilled Occupation List for Tier 2 Visa

The Migration Advisory Committee set up by the previous UK Government in 2007 to advise on immigration issues has recommended that eight job titles be removed from the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This is relevant for applications under the Tier 2 visa for Skilled Workers, the UK's employer-sponsored immigration visa.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) also recommended last month that 71 occupations be removed from the list of occupations that may qualify under the Tier 2 visa category for skilled workers. "This is to meet the government's objective of raising the skill level of Tier 2 to National Qualifications Framework level 4 and above (NQF4+)," the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said in a statement.

Some of the occupations that MAC recommends should be removed from the Skilled Occupation List include the following:

  • high integrity pipe welder
  • skilled meat boner
  • skilled meat trimmer
  • skilled senior care worker

The UKBA stated that the removal of senior care workers from the list will not affect "...care home managers and nurses working in care homes as these occupations are level NQF4+..."

The Chef occupation will also be amended to only include chefs who have at least five years of experience and who are earning at least 28,260 per year.

"Placing limits on migration requires that we are far more selective and ensure only highly skilled migrant workers can come to work in the UK."

Professor David Metcalf, chairman of the MAC, went onto say that "only the top 5 percent of chef jobs will be open to Tier 2 workers under these recommendations as a result of a more stringent earnings threshold."

The MAC aim is to substantially reduce the number of jobs that Tier 2 visa applicants with occupations in the skilled occupation list will be eligible for; MAC hopes that the number of jobs will be reduced to 230,000 jobs, down from 1 million in 2008 when the MAC first produced the Shortage Occupation List. MAC claims that if the proposed changes are implemented Migrants coming under the Skilled Occupation List will only be eligible for one percent of the jobs in the UK labour market.

The Government is expected to respond to the MAC recommendations by 6 April 2011.