The UK Government Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, has written to Professor Brian Bell, chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), commissioning the Committee to carry out another review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).
Listing occupations where employers face a shortage of suitable labour and where it is sensible to fill those shortages with migrant workers, the SOL is a feature of the existing Tier 2 work migration route.
The UK Government periodically commissions the MAC to recommend which occupations should be placed on the SOL.
Ultimately it is for the UK Government to decide which occupations are selected.
In his letter to Professor Bell, Mr Foster points out that the current nature of the SOL and the benefits it confers have changed significantly with the introduction of the new points-based System, removal of the Resident Labour Market Test and suspension of the cap.
The Minister goes on to make it clear that the Government, which has already rejected a suggestion from the MAC that Care Workers be added to the SOL so they would become eligible for the Skilled Worker Visa, is likely to do so again if the Committee repeats its recommendation.
Arguing against allowing more migrant workers to access the UK labour market, he said: “The services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) via local jobcentres should always be the first port of call for employers struggling to recruit, rather than the Home Office.”
Mr Foster has asked the MAC to consider whether the salary requirement for jobs on the SOL, in future, be whichever is higher of the going rate (rather than 20% less than the going rate) or £20,480, subject to an absolute minimum of £10.10 per hour.
Professor Bell has said that the MAC will report back as early in spring 2023 as possible.