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Skilled jobs slashed, except dancers

Government advised to remove 300 thousand jobs, mainly in construction and healthcare. 29 April 2009.The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its latest report today making recommendations to the Government for the review of the shortage occupation lists.

The lists underpin the points-based system for migration to the United Kingdom as they designate which occupations are to be considered eligible to be filled by migrants from outside the European Economic Area.

Professor David Metcalf, chair of the Committee, said the new shortage list took account of the impact of the worldwide recession on Britain and reduced the numbers of jobs open to skilled workers from outside the European Economic Area from 800,000 to 530,000.

More than 100,000 skilled construction jobs, including managers and quantity surveyors, on large property projects should immediately be closed to overseas workers, says the MAC report, which reviews Tier 2 of the Points Based System, which applies to skilled workers.

Widespread concern expressed by major Theatres and Concert halls in regards to the difficulty of recruiting performers under the current immigration management system has vice versa prompted the Committee to add orchestral musicians, and contemporary dancers and choreographers to the list, alongside visual effects and computer animation technicians in the film and video industry.

Social workers who work with adults are also to be removed from the official shortage occupation list, following the introduction of new initiatives to increase the number of students on social work courses and to improve the retention of more experienced workers.

The decision to ban recruitment of international qualified social workers, however, will not apply to those involved in child and family services, where it is considered that a national shortage remains. The MAC’s report says recruitment difficulties in this area have been exacerbated by the negative media image of social workers responsible for children.

The skill threshold is changed for care assistants and chefs

The changes in the rules for senior care staff in the social care sector also follow complaints that the £8.80 an hour wage rate defining a skilled care worker was set too high. The advisers have decided to lower the qualifying wage rate to £7.80 an hour but added the criteria that they also need to have two years’ experience, an NQF level two qualification and supervisory responsibilities. The effect is to reduce the number of care jobs open to overseas staff from a third of the sector to about a fifth.In the healthcare profession, the removal of some pharmacist and nursing jobs has been advised as well as the addition of some specialist consultant posts.
In announcing the publication of its recommendations the Chair of the Committee, Professor David Metcalf, said:

"These latest recommendations take account of the impact of the worldwide recession on the United Kingdom. We have looked critically at the evidence regarding the occupations under review and made recommendations which 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 United Kingdom needs to maintain global leadership."

The MAC is also starting an urgent review of all of the other occupations currently on the lists, to be completed in autumn 2009.

It is estimated that the jobs and occupations on the MAC’s recommended United Kingdom list employ approximately 530,000 people, or around 2% of the workforce. This figure relates to the number of people (immigrants and non-immigrants) currently working in these occupations and job titles.

The Government will announce in due course whether it accepts the Committee’s recommendations.

The Committee produced its first recommended lists in September 2008, which were accepted in full by the Government.

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