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More UK engineering jobs might be filled from outside the EU

15 February 2013

In its latest report, the Migration Advisory Committee is advising government to increase the number of UK engineering jobs that could potentially be filled by professionals from outside the European Union.

For the second year running the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is recommending that the number of engineering jobs on the UK's shortage occupation list is increased. Chairman of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf said: "Our research shows that attempts by employers and public bodies in this industry to address the engineering skills deficit have so far proven inadequate. Therefore, we recommend the government add around 20 new engineering sector job titles to the list this year. Although there are a number of initiatives to help boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills, we emphasise the need for greater strategic thinking around delivery of these."

The MAC was also asked to advise the government on proposals to automatically remove a job from the shortage occupation list after two years - known as the sunset clause. The MAC finds against the proposal, arguing that either the status quo or a four year time period with an opportunity to appeal against removal would be more proportionate.

Commenting, Steve Radley, director of policy at the Engineering Employers Federation (EEF) said: “The Migration Advisory Committee has rightly recommended increasing the number of engineering jobs on the shortage occupation list. The government should adopt this recommendation and ensure that industry is able to access the specialist skills it needs, often at short notice.  

“Ministers should heed its advice not to introduce a sunset clause on engineering occupations. Skill shortages are a longstanding problem and though employers are investing more in training, there are no quick-fix solutions. At a time when we need industry to win new orders, we cannot afford to tie its hand behind its back by denying access to the skills it needs to deliver them.”

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