This browser is not actively supported anymore. For the best passle experience, we strongly recommend you upgrade your browser.

Legal insights & industry updates

| 2 minutes read

Skills shortages – have your say

With the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reporting there were still more than a million vacant positions in the UK at the end of the first quarter of 2023, why are organisations continuing to struggle to fill skilled positions? 

Whilst various roles are eligible to be filled through sponsored work visas, many organisations are finding that some particularly hard-to-fill roles are excluded from visa sponsorship. Those in affected sectors have the chance to put their case forward to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) as part of their current call for evidence.

The MAC is an independent non-departmental public body that advises the UK government on immigration policies. One of its crucial responsibilities is to maintain a comprehensive understanding of labour market trends and identify occupations where shortages exist and provide recommendations to government. As part of its advisory role, the MAC is currently calling for evidence from stakeholders

With the MAC's call for evidence due to close in less than two weeks, now is the time for organisations to consider submitting a response.

What is the shortage occupation list? 

The shortage occupation list contains details of roles where there is a scarcity of skilled workers within the UK to fill these roles and where migration is considered an appropriate response to the shortage. The list is reviewed periodically and updated to reflect changes to the UK labour market. Recent changes to the list saw the addition of care workers, and there are plans to add a number of construction roles to the list later this year.

What are the benefits of the shortage occupation list? 

UK employers wishing to sponsor skilled workers from overseas need to meet a number of strict requirements before a worker can secure a skilled worker visa, including minimum skill and salary requirements.

There are various benefits to a role being included in the shortage occupation list. Roles benefit from a lower salary threshold, whereby both the minimum salary threshold and the going rate for the role are generally reduced by up to 20%. This means that the minimum general salary threshold for visa sponsorship is £20,960 and not the usual £26,200 per annum.

Furthermore, applicants applying for a visa to fill a shortage occupation benefit from a lower visa application fee. The fees range from £479 for up to three years of permission, to £943 for more than three years. This is compared to the standard fees for non-shortage occupations which range from £625 to £1,423.

Also, asylum seekers whose claim has been pending for more than 12 months may apply for permission to work in shortage occupations.

The call for evidence – have your say 

The MAC's call for evidence regarding shortage occupations serves as a vital information-gathering exercise. It seeks input from employers, professional bodies and other stakeholders to assess the state of various occupations and evaluate whether they face genuine shortages of skilled workers. The consultation process provides an opportunity for individuals and organisations to provide evidence and insights that can help shape immigration policies and address labour market challenges effectively. With many industries frustrated by the difficulties recruiting within their sector, this is an opportunity to highlight any particular issues and give real-life examples of the challenges faced.  

The deadline to respond is 26 May 2023. Details on how to respond can be found here.

How we can help

We work with our clients to review their staffing needs, including:

  • Offering advice and training to your recruiting teams on available visa routes to meet your staffing needs
  • Advising on roles suitable for visa sponsorship, including those included on the shortage occupation list
  • Providing guidance in developing immigration-specific organisational policies
  • Assisting organisations become licenced sponsors with UKVI
  • Conducting compliance audits regarding sponsor management duties and right-to-work checks

Should your organisation need assistance in reviewing your current recruitment needs and exploring possible visa avenues, please get in touch with a member of our team to discuss further.

We want to hear organisations' views on the roles that are being filled by migrant workers, the salaries they are paid and implications of potential changes


recruitment, immigration, skills shortage