ArticleUK Shortage Occupation List is soon to be dissolved

The UK Home Secretary has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to expedite a review of the UK Shortage Occupation List (SOL). SOL will soon be rebranded as the Immigration Salary List (ISL). This rapid review follows the government’s commitment to reform the SOL. It echoes the MAC’s recommendations in their October 2023 report. The report proposed significant alterations to the skilled worker sponsorship system, including the dissolution of the SOL.

Scope and objectives of the ISL rapid review:
  1. Reviewing shortage occupations: The MAC is tasked with evaluating the current SOL and its own recommendations from the October 2023 report. The goal is to compile a temporary ISL that accurately reflects shortage roles. It will undergo a more extensive review in the future.
  2. Assessing salary thresholds: An essential part of the review is scrutinizing the chosen salary thresholds. The MAC will examine whether these thresholds are in line with market rates and if they successfully attract genuinely skilled workers.
  3. Identifying benefits and potential issues: The review will also explore the advantages of transitioning from the SOL to the ISL. It will further pinpoint areas for improvement and potential unforeseen consequences.
Anticipated outcomes and timescales:
  • The MAC’s findings, expected by 23 February 2024, will likely shape the new ISL. This revised list, incorporating additional occupations and updated salary thresholds, is anticipated to be integrated into the Spring Immigration Rules, taking effect in April 2024.
  • This initial review is a precursor to a broader, more detailed analysis of the entire skilled worker visa system, signaling ongoing reforms in the UK’s immigration policy.
Additional Changes in the Pipeline:
  1. Abolishing discounted salary roles: The upcoming Spring Immigration Rules will also see the end of sponsoring workers at discounted salaries for shortage roles, aligning with the new direction of the ISL.
  2. Adoption of the standard occupational coding system: In line with the MAC’s recommendation, the Home Office will adopt the National Statistics’ Standard Occupational Code 2020 system. This system will be used to update the going salary rates for various occupations starting from April 2024.

As the UK continues to refine its immigration system, these developments are a clear indication of its commitment to adapting and improving its policies in response to evolving economic and labour market needs.

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