In order to combat the UK’s skills shortage, Liz Truss has announced a large review of Britain’s visa schemes.

She is expected to make changes to the “shortage occupation list.” This will allow more overseas staff to be brought in by specific industries.

Whilst this is welcomed by many business leaders, this move will undoubtedly anger some of her anti-immigration colleagues.

The UK suffers from acute labour shortages everywhere from medicine to software developers. To change this, employers will be able to sponsor workers to come to the UK and plug skills gaps. 

There are doubts about how effective this would be, as employers would need Home Office approval, and be forced to meet strict criteria.


Visa schemes: filling the gaps in the labour market 

Alan Price, CEO at BrightHR, says that it is “no secret that UK businesses have struggled to recruit new staff and create skilled workforces. As such, it’s beneficial the government are looking at other ways to fill gaps in the labour market. 

“However, visa rules are already complex, so employers will need to spend time fully understanding the ins and outs of the recruitment process, to make sure they are meeting their legal obligations.”


The Scale-up visa: is it enough?

The new Scale-up visa is designed to make it cheaper for businesses to recruit staff from overseas.

For workers, the visa gives them greater autonomy by allowing them to change employers after six months of working.

The idea is to rapidly allow businesses to directly tackle the skills shortages they are experiencing within their organisation.

“We have asked for the Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a full review of the shortage occupation list to cover all job roles that are in shortage irrespective of their skill level,” Craig Beaumont of the Federation of Small Businesses said.

“That wat we would see sectors with a big immediate need for new recruits have their vacancy levels reduced.”


What do employers now need to be aware of?

“Failing to complete the appropriate right to work checks, or doing so incorrectly, could lead to costly fines and serious business repercussions,” warns Mr Price. 

“It would be useful if the government coupled new visa routes with detailed guidance for employers on how they can be utilised to maximise success for all.” 







Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.