Migration Advisory Committee consults on skills shortages

Prof Brian Bell, interim chair of the Migration Advisory Committee. Photo: gov.uk

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has launched a six-week call for evidence, asking business groups and employers to share their knowledge of the recruitment market to help shape its shortage occupation list, a key document in the forthcoming points-based immigration system.

The shortage occupation list is the government’s official register of roles for which evidence suggests there are not enough UK workers to fill vacancies. Scotland has its own list in addition to the UK-wide one.

MAC interim chair Professor Brian Bell said: “We appreciate that the coronavirus outbreak has placed businesses in an enormously difficult situation, but their input is vital.

“Any time they can give, or information they can provide will be greatly valued and aid us in providing the government with robust recommendations.

“We must proceed with this call for evidence now in order to deliver our report in September 2020 as requested.”

Responses to the consultation will provide MAC with a well-rounded picture of the current migration issues and will support the recommendations to the home secretary in September.

The government has said that whether an occupation is in shortage will be one of the key factors for which a migrant will be able to score tradeable points under the new points-based immigration system when it is introduced.

The home secretary has asked the committee to consider which medium-skill occupations that require A-levels or the equivalents, should be added to a UK-wide list of occupations in shortage.

The committee, independent of government, is not asking for evidence regardingroles covered on the current lists, which are degree-level, as they plan for these to remain in place at this review.

MAC acknowledged that the coronavirus epidemic will affect employers’ ability to respond to the call for evidence and this will be reflected in the final report.

The consultation closes on 24 June 2020.

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