Coming to Work in the UK with Skills on the UK Shortage Occupation List

Skilled workers from both inside and outside of the EU always have been and always will be a huge asset to businesses in the UK, especially when they are filling positions present on the shortage occupation list.

Are you are a skilled worker looking to work in the UK on a work visa? Our immigration experts can help you.

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UK Shortage Occupation List

Lack of Qualified Workers in the UK

Non-British workers becoming more hesitant to come to the UK to work has led to a noticeable lack of qualified workers in many crucial industries.

Even those whose occupation is on the official skill shortage list appear to be reluctant to make the jump, which is evident by governmental data, which is updated several times throughout the year.

If you are from outside the UK and have been offered a job here that employers are struggling to recruit for, read on below for our advice on taking the next step and what you should expect of the visa application process.

Alternatively, if you are a UK-based employer noticing a skills shortage in your organisation or sector, read on for the benefits of hiring foreign workers and why you should apply for a sponsorship licence, if you haven’t already.

Which Sectors are Currently Facing a Staffing Crisis?

Several times a year, the government releases an up-to-date list of all the roles and industries that urgently require more staff, or vacancies that businesses are desperately struggling to fill due to a lack of workers with the right skillsets.

As of June 2019, the shortage occupation list includes:

  • Energy and mining production managers
  • Physical scientists
  • Engineers across all industries, such as civil engineers, mechanical engineers and electrical engineers
  • IT and software development specialists and analysts
  • Medical practitioners and radiographers
  • Health professionals such as nurses and midwives
  • Actuaries, economists and statisticians
  • Animators
  • Aircraft maintenance technicians
  • Environmental specialists
  • Designers
  • Chefs
  • Welders
  • Orchestral musicians
  • Social workers
  • Secondary school teachers with subject specialisms in science, maths, computer science and Mandarin
  • Dance choreographers
  • Paramedics

There are specialisms within these professions which are most sought after in the UK. It’s worth contacting immigration experts to find out if your exact profession or specialism is included on the current UK shortage occupation list before you apply for your skilled worker visa.

If you are seeking a visa in order to come to Britain to take up a job offer in one of the above roles, your application will be prioritised and the visa application process will be much simpler.

Similarly, if you are a business struggling to recruit workers with the right skills, you may want to consider candidates from outside of the UK.

With the assistance of our expert immigration advisers you could hire excellent, specialist staff quickly and easily.

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Nurses on the UK Shortage Occupation List

There are currently 40,000 advertised NHS vacancies in nursing and midwifery in the UK. It is the most understaffed sector in the NHS, and is due to an enormous drop in the number of EU nurses and midwives coming to work in the UK.

There are also more EU nurses leaving the NHS than are joining, indicating that the outlook for the future of nursing in the UK is alarming, to say the least.

As a result of the sharp decline in non-British healthcare workers applying to enter the UK, the healthcare service has been left in a state of panic, with most employees over-stretched and patients suffering as a result.

How Being Skilled in a ‘Short Skill Area’ can Benefit You

The standard UK work visa is the Tier 2 visa, which has a points-based application system.

In total, you must score 70 points in order to qualify for a Tier 2 visa, 30 of which will depend on your certificate of sponsorship from your UK-based employer and whether or not your new job meets the salary requirements.

However, if you are taking up a role featured on the skills shortage list and you have the right qualifications to do so, you will be granted these 30 points automatically.

Thus, when you apply for a skilled worker visa as someone whose job is on the UK shortage occupation list, you will only need to provide your sponsorship certificate. Unlike with a general skilled worker visa application, you do not need to show proof of your qualifications or prospective earnings.

You will also be charged less for your application if you are fulfilling a job on the shortage occupation list.

What’s more, if you want to obtain permanent UK residency after your Tier 2 visa has expired, you will be exempt from the £35,000 salary requirement.

Let us help you with your Tier 2 skilled worker visa application.

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How do the ‘Short Skill Exceptions’ Benefit Employers?

As an employer, you can expect the Home Office to reach a decision on the applications of skilled workers much faster, assuring that the vacancy in your business is filled swiftly.

Aside from the obvious advantage of filling important roles, your company will enjoy a range of benefits associated with employing foreign workers, such as developing a stronger and more diverse culture and bringing forward new ideas and perspectives.

What is the Visa Cap?

In 2011, the government decided to implement a restriction on the monthly number of visas granted to non-EU nationals.

This is commonly referred to as the visa cap and until December of 2017, the monthly limit of 1,600 visas had only ever been exceeded once on a minor scale, back in 2015.

For the first time in seven years the visa limit was met multiple times throughout 2018, which led to urgent recommendations that the cap is to be lifted.

Because of the cap many applications have been rejected over the past year and a half, including those from scientists, IT experts and engineers, and many other professions on the UK national shortage occupation list.

Nurses and Doctors Exempt from the Visa Cap

In June 2018, Home Secretary Sajid Javid revealed that the monthly quota cap for doctors, nurses and other sought after healthcare professionals would be scrapped.

This decision was made so as to allow more skilled workers in other professions, such as IT experts and scientists, to be given priority when applying for a visa and ultimately have a greater chance of coming to the UK.

The exemption of doctors, nurses and a range of surgeons was also intended help the NHS tackle its skilled staff shortage and fill up vacant positions much faster.

Many campaigners and MPs were delighted with the Home Secretary’s news, fuelling hope that the NHS will gradually regain its strength as vital roles are filled and existing staff no longer feel strained.

Are you a healthcare worker looking at taking up work in the UK?

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Applying for a Tier 2 Visa with A UK Occupation Shortage List Job Offer

It is in your best interest to seek the guidance of an immigration solicitor before you submit your visa application, especially if your job is on the UK occupational shortage list.

We will check the contents of your application, ensuring that it contains the correct information and supporting documentation to give you the best chance of success. Our immigration solicitors can also advise you on any areas of weakness within your application and help you resolve these issues.

We have an excellent track record of helping our clients successfully obtain visas and can proudly say we currently hold a 100 percent success rate on all point based visa applications, including the Tier 2 – Skilled workers applications.
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