The Migration Advisory Committee, an independent public body that advises the government on migration issues, has been commissioned by the Home Secretary to evaluate the UK’s Shortage Occupation List (SOL) which will now cover all occupations in the RQF 3-5 skill bracket.
The review of the list is relevant to the implementation of the new future points-based immigration system, as government has announced that occupations on the SOL will benefit by having the salary threshold reduced by 20%, subject to a lower minimum salary threshold of £20,480. It’s important for techUK to make sure specific IT and tech roles can be put on this list to get ease of access to tech talent.
Last year the UK technology sector grew six times faster than any other sector, creating new jobs and opportunities for people up and down the UK. Migration has been, and continues to be, a primary driver of growth within the UK's tech sector and is critical in delivering continued innovation, competitiveness, and employment opportunities.
Access to talent and skills remains the number one issue for techUK’s members and is vital to ensuring continued growth and prosperity for the UK economy. The UK economy could forfeit as much as £141.5 billion in GDP growth if we fail to close the digital skills gap.
Spotlighting the Data Centre sector, which sits within the digital and tech industries, techUK has highlighted occupations that should be on the SOL due to the recruitment difficulties in finding skills for that role. In doing so would provide the sector with the talent and specialist skills it needs to support our digitally-driven economy, especially as we look to economically recovering from this public health crisis.
At the moment one of the main advantages of sponsoring a migrant worker in a shortage occupation is that the Resident Labour Market Test for a Tier 2 (General) visa does not apply. Government has said that it will abolish the Resident Labour Market Test but whether an occupation is in shortage will be one of the key factors for which a migrant will be able to score tradeable points and so the SOL must continue to be an important part of the future immigration system.
Read techUK’s response to the call for evidence below and please get in touch with Nimmi Patel if you have any queries.