Press release

Reduction in jobs available to migrants

Specialist jobs that can now be filled by the resident workforce will be removed from a government-approved list reducing jobs for migrants.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The government today accepted recommendations from the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that will see the number of jobs covered by the list drop by 40,000, bringing the total down from 230,000 to 190,000. In 2008, before the MAC recommended changes to it, that list covered over one million employees.

The MAC recommended the changes where evidence from a range of industries and sectors showed resident workers are available to fill the vacancies.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘Alongside our limits on overseas workers we are  taking action to provide businesses with the skills they need from the British workforce and reduce their need for migrants.’
‘We want the brightest and the best people from outside the EU with the skills we can benefit from in the UK. 

Occupations that the MAC recommended be removed from the list include:

  • secondary education biology teachers
  • speech and language therapists
  • pharmacists
  • orthoptists
  • veterinary surgeons
  • rank and file orchestral musicians

Added to the list will be:

  • actuaries
  • high integrity pipe welders
  • environmental scientists; and
  • geochemists.
    The government has accepted the MAC’s recommended list in full however, rank and file musicians will not be removed from the list immediately.

Notes to editors

1.   For a copy of the revised Shortage Occupation List please go to
2.   The Shortage Occupation is part of the Tier 2 immigration route via the Points Based System. Highly skilled migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) seeking to work in the UK must apply for visas via this route.
3.   The annual limit on immigration from outside the EEA was introduced on 6 April 2011. For more information go to
4.   The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises the government on migration issues. It is a non-statutory, non-time-limited, non-departmental public body, sponsored by the UK Border Agency of the Home Office. The MAC is made up of a chair and four other independent economists, who have been appointed under rules relating to public appointments laid down by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). Additionally, the Commission for Employment and Skills and the UK Border Agency are represented on the committee.
5. The revised list will come into effect from 14 November 2011.  This means that:
• For applications covered by the annual limit, the new list will apply to all applications by Tier 2 Sponsors for restricted Certificates of Sponsorship made on or after 14 November 2011.
• For applications outside the annual limit, the new list will apply to all unrestricted Certificates of Sponsorship assigned to migrants on or after 14 November 2011.
6.   Employers can only bring someone into the UK under Tier Two if the job is on the shortage occupation list or if they pass a resident labour market test(advertising the job in the UK first for four weeks).

Published 18 October 2011