The government has announced that it will remove 8 occupations from the points-based system’s shortage occupation list.

If an occupation is on the shortage occupation list, this means that there are not enough resident workers in the UK to do the available jobs in that occupation. When the 8 occupations are removed from the list, the number of jobs available to migrants under the list will be reduced from 500,000 to around 230,000.

The government is also removing 71 professions from the list of 192 approved jobs under Tier 2 of the points-based system, as they have been deemed to be below graduate level. Under new rules to be introduced in April, anyone wishing to enter the UK under Tier 2 must be coming here to do a job that is deemed to be at or above graduate level.

This announcement follows the government’s decision to accept all of the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) recommendations following the publication of 2 reports looking at graduate-level jobs and the shortage occupation list for Tier 2.

The MAC estimates that, of the 8,400 certificates of sponsorship issued in 2010 to workers on the shortage occupation list, 65 per cent would not have qualified under the new criteria.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

‘These changes to the shortage occupation list will ensure that only skilled workers are coming to the UK through Tier 2 of the points-based system. It will allow firms to bring in people with necessary skills without migrants becoming the first resort to fill a wide range of available jobs.

‘This government is also determined to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce – reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their number.’

The government has now commissioned the MAC to review shortages across the entire labour market, with a view to amending the shortage occupation list.