Automation in the Manufacturing Sector and the Shortages of Workers in the UK

Andrew Halpin
Andrew Halpin

Published: March 8th, 2023

7 min read

Since Brexit and the pandemic happened around the same time, the UK employment market has been volatile to say the least. This situation hasn't improved with so many strike actions across the various work forces in the UK.

As there is an increase in the employment market in the UK, there is a struggle for some businesses to recruit the right candidates from the UK settled work force, hence there has been an increase in recruitment from abroad for workers with the right skills and qualifications.

However, there has been a shortage of occupations in some sectors as compared to others and for this reason the UK Visas and Immigration authority, the Home Office has published a list of staff shortages in the UK, this is called the Shortage Occupation List. The full list can be found here.

Despite staff shortages, the Home Office has stated that they will not be extending the shortage occupations list. In rather recent information published by the UK Chamber of Commerce about possible difficulties in recruiting workers in the manufacturing, engineering and hospitality sectors and an article in the Guardian also highlights the serious issues caused by staff shortages in the heath and care sector.

One of the main advantages of recruiting individuals on a shortage occupation list is that it has the reduced minimum salary requirements for the skilled worker and health and care sector visas. The visa fees for these sectors is also lower than other sectors. The Immigration Health Surcharge is also waived for the health and care visas. This will make it easier for employers to recruit workers from overseas in these sectors.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is the committee that advises the Home Office on which roles should be on the shortage occupations list and general migration issues. In August 2022 MAC was commissioned to review the shortage occupation list for sponsoring skilled workers.. In December 2022 a report was published by MAC Migration Advisory Committee.

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