News & Insights

The New Shortage Occupation Recommendations


The Government has revised the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) following a report published by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on 29 September 2020. The MAC advises the Government on migration issues and was commissioned to assess what medium-skill occupations should be included ahead of the introduction of the new points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021.

The SOL forms part of the overall Skilled Worker route, under which applicants must obtain a total of 70 points, comprising 50 mandatory points and 20 tradeable points.

What is a shortage occupation?

For the purposes of the Skilled Worker route, a shortage occupation is a skilled job where there is a shortage of workers in the UK. The SOL lists occupations eligible for the Skilled Worker route, which are in shortage in the UK and can therefore be filled with migrant workers.

If the applicant’s job is on the SOL, they will receive 20 tradeable points provided that their salary is equal to or exceeds £20,480 per year or 80% of the going rate for the relevant occupation code (whichever is higher).

This means that where an applicant’s job is on the SOL, they may be paid less than the minimum salary requirement of £25,600 per year or the going rate for the relevant occupation code (whichever is higher), and still receive the 20 tradeable points.

What has changed?

Following the report by MAC, the Government has added the following 8 occupations to the SOL in the health and care sectors from 1 April 2021:

  • Health services and public health managers and directors
  • Residential, day and domiciliary care managers and proprietors
  • Pharmacists
  • Health professionals not elsewhere classified (the MAC recommended this occupation be recognised as a shortage occupation in Wales and the Government is expanding this to include the rest of the UK)
  • Physiotherapists
  • Laboratory technicians (including those not in the health and care sectors)
  • Nursing auxiliaries and assistants
  • Senior care workers

The Government has also included modern foreign language teachers to the list but removed skilled chefs.

The MAC will continue to assess the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and so we might expect there to be further changes to the SOL in the future.

If you have any questions about the contents of this article or if you need any assistance with the Skilled Worker route, please contact [email protected] in the immigration team at FSP.