09 February 2011
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended a new shorter list of occupations eligible for migration under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
As part of its review of the immigration system, the government raised the threshold for Tier 2 visas to 'graduate level' and commissioned the MAC to examine which occupations should qualify.
The government asked that the MAC use the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 4 and above as the relevant benchmark. This will reduce the number of occupations qualifying for Tier 2 visas by 71, down from 192 to 121.
The shorter list of occupations means that Tier 2 applicants will only be able to apply for jobs covering the most skilled 39 per cent of the labour market rather than the current 56 per cent.
Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, Professor David Metcalf, said:
'Skilled foreign workers make a valuable contribution to the British economy but, in the context of limits on migration, it is essential that the immigration system is designed to select those migrants we need the most.
'We have recognised this by ensuring our recommendations will allow the most skilled to continue to come and work here.'
Among the occupations which would still qualify for entry under Tier 2 of the points-based system are nurses, teaching professionals, civil engineers and finance and investment analysts.
Occupations which were qualified as skilled to the old level but are not to the new one include retail managers, hairdressing and beauty salon managers, laboratory technicians, and estate agents. Tier 1 is still being applied and we can assist in this before the changes in April.