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The UK Shortage Occupation List

When it comes to getting a visa for the UK, there are several options for being granted a visa. If you are planning to come to the UK for a significant amount of time, then you will normally require having a job offer in place before you apply for the visa. Getting a job in one of the occupations that are on the UK Shortage Occupation List will greatly help in obtaining your visa. We take a look at what makes the list a great way to get into the UK.

What is it?

The list is published by the UK government, and it details professions that the UK is deemed to have a lack of workers for. This means that these skills are being highly sought after by the UK, and getting a visa to do one of these jobs is noticeably easier. You will still need to seek advice from an immigration solicitor in obtaining your Tier 2 work visa. However, if you have a job offer from one of the professions on the list, then you are going to have an easier time of it. The list is regularly updated by the UK government, having mind to the current workforce in the UK and the skills shortages it is seeking.

How Does it Work?

Well, when you apply for a Tier 2 work visa it is progressed based on a points-scoring exercise. To be granted the visa you need to score at least 70 points to be able to qualify. If you have a job offer in place with a certificate of sponsorship from your future employer then this grants you 30 points. If your job is on the Shortage List then you automatically get an additional 30 points. This means that you only need a few more points to qualify, which are normally easily covered. You generally only need to provide your certificate of sponsorship if your job is on the list rather than having to provide proof of qualification or proof of earnings as well. You will also be charged less for your application.

Which Jobs are on the List?

As mentioned before this is updated several times a year, but it features the likes of the following professions:

  • 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

Are any Jobs More Sought After Than Others?

One of the biggest job shortages in the UK is for nurses. As of the time of writing the NHS is about 40,000 nurses short of being able to fulfil all their open positions. This has put the NHS into a crisis mode and so they are desperately looking to recruit nurses and midwives. This is happening because the number of nurses coming into the UK from the EU has dropped off rapidly in recent years. This has been combined with a record number of EU nurses leaving the NHS to work in other countries. This means that the future of the nursing profession in the UK looks bleak. This means that if you are a qualified nurse looking to move into the UK then you are going to be snapped up. It doesn't matter which country you are coming from, you are still likely to be accepted if you have the necessary qualifications in your home country. If you want to make the jump then it is worth having a conversation with your solicitor about the ease of getting a visa.

Are There Any Limits?

Since 2011 the UK government has imposed a cap on the number of non-EU nationals that are being granted each month. The cap currently sits at 1600 visas to be granted each month. This was only exceeded once in 2015 by only a small amount. However, times are changing. During 2018 the limit was hit several times which meant that several jobs went unfulfilled despite offers being in place. Many of these jobs were on the shortage list, so this clearly showed that there was a problem with how the system is working. There have been many recommendations in government to 'scrap the cap'. There is however one except. In June 2018 the health secretary scrapped the cap for Doctors and Nurses. The idea being that by exempting those very highly sought after professions, that would free more spaces for the other professions on the list.

Getting Expert Advice

If you work in one of the professions that are on the list, in particular, if you are a doctor or nurse, and you are thinking of making the switch to the UK then you are in good shape. It is important to note that you need to get a job offer in place first, and that is something that you will need to do for yourself. As soon as you have that offer in place, then get professional legal advice to help with getting your visa paperwork together and obtaining your visa. A professional legal service will make the whole process so much easier. The paperwork and process can be onerous for someone not familiar with the system, and in particular if English is not your first language, then it can make things tricky. However, don't let it put you off, a professional legal advisor will be able to work with you to make sure that the process is as simple as possible. Additionally, when your visa is about to expire and you want to make the transition to permanent residence, then get in touch with our team of Immigration solicitors who will be able to give you the best advice and help you to make the transition with the minimum of fuss.

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Reiss Edwards Reviews


"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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