The UK’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has undergone a complete U-turn in policy, with their latest report suggesting that considerably more migrants should be allowed into the UK to fill certain job roles, with no requirement to advertise for home-grown candidates.
As it stands, around one per cent of UK jobs are part of a list which allows them to be advertised overseas for specialist candidates, effectively jumping the queue from workers outside the European Economic Area, the idea being that they cannot be sourced in the UK. However, the MAC is now looking to increase this to nine per cent of jobs.
The so-called ‘Shortage Occupation List’ (SOL) allows workers to be excused from rules such as mandatory minimum earnings and high fees for visa costs. The list also means there is no requirement to have first advertised the jobs to British people.
Among some of the careers that made the list are vets, architects, web designers, and psychologists.
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Professor Alan Manning, Chairman of the MAC, said: “Today’s labour market is very different to the one we reviewed when the last SOL was published in 2013. That is why we have recommended expanding the SOL to cover a range of occupations in health, information and engineering fields.”
Alp Mehmet from the pressure group Migration Watch said of the MAC’s new position: “An initial analysis of this long report shows its main proposal to be to increase the shortage occupation list from covering less than 1% of total employment to 9% — or about 2.5m workers.
“This is astonishing. The MAC seems to have turned 180 degrees from its previous emphasis on encouraging employers to recruit domestically through improved wages, better conditions and boosted training and only turning to foreign workers as a last resort. What a pity.”
As Mr Mehmet said in the Migration Watch press release, the MAC had previously had a policy of promoting British employment in required positions by supporting better wages and working conditions to encourage more British people to train for much-needed jobs.
In a report in 2018 the MAC suggested that there was no requirement to treat EU workers any differently than non-EU workers post-Brexit. They said: “We recommend moving to a system in which all migration is managed with no preferential access to EU citizens.”