18 / 3 / 2014
The shortage occupation list is an official list of occupations for which there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies. The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) regularly reviews the list and calls for evidence of which occupations should be included or removed.
About the shortage occupation list
Employers who wish to recruit an individual from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland to fill a vacancy that is on the shortage occupation list, may issue a Tier 2 certificate of sponsorship (CoS) without the need to demonstrate that a resident labour market test (RLMT) has been carried out.
Migrants who come to the UK to fill a skilled job in Tier 2 on the shortage occupation list will gain enough points without proving their prospective earnings or qualifications.
It is important to note that employers can still recruit from overseas if the occupation is not on the list, however in this situation the resident labour market test (RLMT) will apply. For more information please see our RLMT web page.
Prior to issuing the Tier 2 CoS, employers should check if any changes have been made to the shortage occupation list during the period of recruitment. If the list has been amended and the occupation being recruited to has been removed, the individual will not be able to claim points for shortage occupation.
A current list of shortage occupations can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration pages of the gov.uk website.
How often are changes made to the shortage occupation list?
As part of the ongoing assessment around skill shortages in the UK, the MAC is commissioned to undertake regular reviews of the shortage occupation list.
On 14 March 2013 the Home Office confirmed a number of changes to the shortage occupation list (SOL), which took effect from 6 April 2013. The changes were recommended in a report by the MAC in February 2013, following their most recent review of the shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland.
See our news page for further information about those occupations to be retained, removed and added to the list from 6 April 2013.
Will changes to the list affect my ability to recruit from overseas?
Removal of an occupation from the list does not mean that a Tier 2 application will not be granted for any vacancy that exists. Providing you can demonstrate that the post has been advertised and there were no suitable applicants from the resident labour market, an individual from overseas may be selected and appointed if they meet all the eligibility criteria for Tier 2.
When satisfying the RLMT, the vacancy must have been advertised to settled workers. Vacancies are subject to a four week advertising period (28 days) however this doesn't need to be continuous. Employers should advertise skilled jobs under Tier 2 for an initial period of no less than seven days. If a suitable resident worker applies, they may be appointed straight away.
If a suitable resident labour worker cannot be found, employers must re-advertise for the remainder of the 28 days. If no suitable resident labour market worker is identified at this stage, employers can then consider appointing a Tier 2 migrant.
If the advertising period for a job is split between two periods, it must be completed within three months. Another option is to advertise for the full four weeks and go through the normal recruitment and selection process.
See our resident labour market test web page for further information.