Rural businesses are urged to respond to the Government’s review of the shortage occupation list as the deadline to make their thoughts known is fast approaching.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently carrying out a full review of the composition of the shortage occupation list, on request of the Government.

The shortage occupation list comprises of occupations and job titles held to be in shortage either across the UK, or in Scotland only, where it would be sensible to fill through non-European Economic Area migration.

Labour has become a particularly pressing issue for agriculture - especially within the vegetable and soft fruit sectors, where thousands of seasonal workers are needed at harvest.

In parts of Scotland, the issue is already so bad that several farmers have had to leave their fruit crops to rot simply because they do not have the workforce to pick it.

Calls have also been made for veterinary to be added to the list as a study commissioned by the RCVS has shown that nearly a third of vets and vet nurses whose nationality is non-UK European are considering a move back home.

Job titles on the shortage occupation list are not required to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test or meet the five-year salary threshold for settlement.

To be eligible for the shortage occupation list occupations and job titles must:

  • Show demonstrable national shortages that cannot be filled from within the domestic labour market;
    be skilled to the required level set by the Home Office; and
  • Demonstrate that it is sensible to seek to fill vacancies with migrant labour from outside of the EEA.

You can find out more about MAC’s call for evidence here.

The review began in autumn, with the closing date January 6, 2019. Evidence can be submitted in response to the call here.