Brexit has brought some seismic shifts to the United Kingdom’s (UK) immigration policies. One of the changes the UK government will be implementing shortly is an expansion of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), which means that South Africans whose career paths match the SOL jobs, may find it easier to qualify to live and work in the UK.
According to these new changes on the horizon, it’s not only foreign workers who will benefit from changes to legislation.
Immigration Minister, Seema Kennedy, said that giving British-based businesses access to the brightest and best global talent is a key priority for the UK government.
“That is why we have made it easier for employers to hire the skilled workers, such as vets and web designers, that this country needs to flourish,” she said.
Ryan Rennison, managing director of UK immigration company, Move Up, said, “UK employers are also set to benefit hugely from the expanded SOL list because if the job they need to fill is listed on the SOL they are exempt from completing a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT)”.
An RLMT is a test that proves to the UK government that the UK employer has tried to recruit UK citizens for a specific role. However, the test is not required when hiring for a job listed on the SOL.
Rennison added, “Access to a worldwide talent base will only help UK businesses gain a significant competitive edge over both local and global competitors. From my perspective, it’s a brilliant move”.
According to Rennison, if a job title is on the SOL at any point during the five years leading to a settlement in the UK, the applicant will not have to fulfil the minimum income threshold currently set at £35,000 per annum.
Another advantage for South Africans hoping to move to the UK based on meeting the SOL criteria is that their visa application fees will be lower than the fees for some of the other Tier 2 visa applications. This includes the fees for visas for all dependants linked to the main visa applicant.
New job titles
According to the UK government, the following Tier 2 job titles are soon expected to be added to the Shortage Occupation List:
Biological scientists and biochemists;
Civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, design and development engineers, production and process engineers, engineering professionals;
IT business analysts, architects and system designers;
Programmers and software development professionals, web design and development professionals;
Medical practitioners, psychologists, veterinarians, medical radiographers, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists;
Secondary education teachers in the subjects of maths, physics, science, computer science and Mandarin;
Some dancers, choreographers and musicians;
Some jobs in the welding trades.
Rennison cautioned South Africans that these Tier 2 job titles are not on the Shortage Occupation List just yet, but that the UK government will be confirming the list of occupations sometime in November 2019.
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