In May 2019, the Migration Advisory Committee published its Full Review of the Shortage Occupation List, which identifies occupations in the UK suffering from labour shortages. Looking at Digital and IT Occupations, the review found the sector is growing in value 2.6 times faster than the economy as a whole. That means a requirement for more workers. The review goes on to highlight a digital skills gap, with “consistent vacancies in digital occupations”. This is a pledge to ensure “access to the best talent from overseas”, which should help to plug the skills gap.
This policy defines its success in terms of chapter one in the manifesto. The relevant policies in that chapter, which we’ve covered elsewhere, are:
- Ensure immigration helps sectors with skills shortages – ‘in progress’
- Get advice from the Migration Advisory Committee on our visa system – ‘done’
Despite sitting under the Digital Age heading in the manifesto, this policy is about people coming from overseas to the UK – it’s about immigration. As such, it is caught in the confusion around Britain’s potential exit from the European Union (Brexit).
There have been plans made for post-Brexit immigration rules, but with no final Withdrawal Agreement ratified at time of writing, it’s impossible to see any of these plans as concrete. The situation is very much in flux, with the government, for example, recently announcing proposals to extend visas for international students to cover two years after the end of their education.
With so much going on, and such uncertainty around outcomes, we’re rating this as ‘in progress’. Follow this policy to see when things become clearer.
Ensure access to the facts
- Full Review of the Shortage Occupation List – Migration Advisory Committee
- Brexit – BBC News
- The UK’s future skills-based immigration system – Gov.uk
- Immigration status: Ministers reverse May-era student visa rules – BBC News
- The UK’s EU Withdrawal Agreement – Parliament.uk