Medical roles in the shortage occupation list for Tier 2 migration will shortly be amended by the Government Image

Medical roles in the shortage occupation list for Tier 2 migration will shortly be amended by the Government

Posted: 05/03/2015

Changes are being made to the shortage occupation list for England and Wales in response to a review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). The changes are summarised at the end of this briefing note and will take effect in relation to immigration decisions made on or after 6 April 2015.

Employers who are currently in the process of recruiting migrant workers under the shortage occupation list will need to take particular care if the role in question has been removed from the list.

The key benefit of roles being included on the shortage occupation list is that it is not necessary for employers to advertise the role for 28 days (in accordance with the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)) before a non-EEA national is recruited to fill the post. This speeds up and streamlines the recruitment of non-EEA staff to these roles.

The changes reflect research carried out by MAC involving submissions from healthcare providers and professional bodies. Some of the key findings were:

  • The number of Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) holders specialising in clinical radiology is far exceeded by the number of vacancies. Vacancies are increasing because of a growing workload for clinical radiologists.
  • There is a growing shortage in trainee doctors in emergency medicine, largely because of high drop-out rates.
  • There are insufficient qualified staff to meet the demographic demands for old age psychiatry, partly due to retirement of doctors.
  • Retirement is also causing a shortfall in the number of paediatric doctors.
  • More needs to be done to recruit psychiatry core trainees from outside the UK.
  • GP shortages are regional in nature and can be addressed by greater recruitment from within the EEA.
  • Anaesthetist shortages are local and not national.
  • The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and Department of Health (DH) should consider relaxing language requirements for nurses.

Although the removal of a role from the shortage occupation list will not prevent employers from continuing to employ staff already sponsored in these roles, any future recruitment of non-EEA staff to these roles will take more time. If an employer is just about to recruit a candidate to one of these roles, the immigration application will need to be concluded before 6 April 2015 if the employer is to rely on the exemption from the RLMT.

We have summarised below the roles that have been added to the list and the roles that have been removed. It is important to note that a number other medical roles will be retained on the list.

If you would like to discuss any relevant issues or would like a copy of the current shortage occupation list or a copy of the MAC report, please contact

Roles to be added

The following medical roles are to be added to the shortage occupation list:

Medical Practitioners (SOC Code  2211)

The following specialisms:

  • Consultants in clinical radiology
  • Non-consultant, non-training medical roles in paediatrics
  • Core trainees in psychiatry
  • CT3 and ST4 to ST7 training roles in emergency medicine

Therapy Professionals Not Elsewhere Classified (SOC Code 2217)

The following specialism:

  • Prosthetists and orthotists

Health Professionals Not Elsewhere Classified (SOC Code 2219)

The following specialism:

  • Nuclear Medicine Scientist (previously on the shortage list but under SOC Code 2113)

Paramedics (SOC Code 3213)

In relation to: 

  • Paramedics at NQF6+ level skill

Roles to be removed

The following medical roles will be removed from the shortage occupation list:

Medical Practitioners (SOC Code  2211) 

  • Consultants in Haematology
  • Non-Consultant, non-training medical roles in:
    • anaesthetics
    • Rehabilitation medicine
    • Psychiatry (excluding old age psychiatry)
    • General Medical Specialities delivering acute care services (general internal medicine (acute)).

Medical Radiographers (SOC Code 2217)

  • HPC Registered therapeutic radiographers

Nurses (SOC Code 2231)

  • Specialist nurses working in neonatal or paediatric intensive care units

Please note that there is a different shortage occupation list for Scotland.

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