Skills shortage prompts migrant call

The Migration and Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that skilled meat boners and trimmers should be added to the list of jobs most in need of immigrant labour.

The MAC’s recommendations were based on a partial review of the shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland, which are used alongside Tier 2 of the points-based system for managing immigration.

If the recommendations are accepted by the government, skilled meat boners and trimmers will be added to the shortage occupation list. This will mean that employers in the UK will be able to recruit migrants to these jobs without needing to carry out a resident labour market test first, as long as they are a registered sponsor under the Points Based System for immigration.

Chair of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf CBE, said: “The Points Based System, including the shortage occupation list, has to operate for the benefit of UK workers, especially given the current economic climate.

“The Migration Advisory Committee’s latest recommendations take account of the impact of the worldwide recession on the UK. We have looked at the evidence and made recommendations that balance the needs of the UK workforce against those of employers.

“It is important to note that some shortages of skilled labour will still exist in a recession. This can be where there is a long-term structural shortage of skilled workers, where workers provide key public services, or in areas such as culture where the UK needs to maintain global leadership.”

The MAC will continue to review the lists, with the next partial review due to be published in spring 2010.