The U.K. government recently published changes to the Immigration Rules, which includes a “Statement of Changes” updating the Shortage Occupation List (“SOL”) that businesses can rely on to bring traditionally more “niche” non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants to the U.K. under an employer-sponsored Tier 2 visa. The SOL covers a wider range of occupations in the health, technology, and engineering fields than it had done previously.
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The U.K. government recently published changes to the Immigration Rules, which includes a “Statement of Changes” updating the Shortage Occupation List (“SOL”) that businesses can rely on to bring traditionally more “niche” non-European Economic Area (EEA) migrants to the U.K. under an employer-sponsored Tier 2 visa.1 This follows the recommendations set out by the Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”) in its recent report2.
The SOL has been expanded significantly and covers a wider range of occupations in the health, technology, and engineering fields than it had done previously to reflect new and further roles in the current and future labour market.
The expansion of the SOL is a welcome move by the U.K. government as it means that it will now cover around 9 percent of jobs in the U.K. labour market, compared to only 1 percent previously. This recognises the increasing difficulty in filling these roles due to a buoyant national labour market, and should assist organisations in employing non-EEA nationals more easily.
However, the MAC makes clear that its recommendations only apply under the current immigration system, while European Union (EU) free movement continues. It remains to be seen how the MAC will position the SOL under the new immigration system which is expected to be phased in after a Brexit transition period from January 2021.
Generally speaking, employers across the U.K. economy, and especially in those sectors where the SOL has been expanded, have found that there is growing international competition for talent, which means that there is fierce competition for skilled individuals. The continued uncertainty in relation to Brexit is adding another layer of complexity to recruitment and access to the brightest and best individuals across the globe.
The expansion of the SOL recognises these challenges and just may make it a little easier for employers to successfully navigate the current U.K. immigration system. They will be able to bring employees to the U.K. which can help to stabilise and grow their businesses and provide more certainty than they can currently rely on.
1 For the full Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules, click here.
3 For the Home Office’s “Immigration Rules Appendix K: Shortage Occupation List,” click here. (Table 1 for jobs which appear on the U.K. SOL).
The KPMG Legal Services – Immigration Team has a wealth of experience in transactional, advisory, and compliance assurance services. We will be able to advise your business in relation to practical considerations in light of the above changes, as well as what this means for your long-term recruitment and compliance strategies.
* Please note the KPMG International member firm in the United States does not provide immigration or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.
The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in the United Kingdom.
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