UPDATE: Home Office follows MAC recommendation to expand shortage occupation list

Woman Game Developer sits at a desk, creating a video game

Blog updated on Monday 9th September, 3pm:

Following the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)'s recommendations, the Home Office has confirmed today that the shortage occupation list will be expanded.

The Immigration Rules have been amended accordingly to accomodate the recommendations placed forth by the MAC earlier this year, putting the changes into law.

Ukie would like to thank the 35 games businesses who helped us shape our submission to the MAC.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that a significant number of video games industry specific roles should be included on the UK’s shortage occupation list (SOL).

Ukie gathered evidence from 35 games companies to respond to the MAC’s call for evidence. Our submission requested the inclusion of eleven additional industry specific roles to the SOL to ensure our industry is able to maintain the access to overseas talent that has built us into a global force.

The SOL exempts companies hiring for certain job roles from outside the EEA from a number of administrative challenges. This includes an exemption from the £35,000 minimum income threshold for settlement, lower visa fees, priority for visas if the annual cap is reached and the ability to avoid conducting the Resident Labour Market Test.

In a review published on Wednesday 29th May, the MAC recommended the following industry relevant changes to the SOL that should be implemented “as soon as possible”.

  • For all jobs in the IT business analysts, architects and systems code (2135) to be included on the list.
  • For all roles in the Web design and development code (2137) to make it onto the SOL.
  • For every role on the Artists code (3411) to be included as qualifying shortage occupations.
  • For the inclusion of a number of new roles within the Graphic Artists code (3421) including compositing artist, modeller and texture artist.

The MAC recommendations also referred directly to seven of the eleven roles that the industry proposed through Ukie, ensuring that 63% of the roles suggested for inclusion by the industry were rolled into the code changes above.

We welcome the recommendations of the MAC. One of the reasons why the UK is the best place to make games in the world is its ability to welcome the best and brightest into this country to support our thriving industry.
The expansion of the Shortage Occupation List to include a significant number of industry specific roles is a great first step to maintaining that position, whatever the future holds for the country’s immigration policy.
We look forward to the changes being implemented as soon as possible in line with the MAC’s recommendations to help us drive our thriving industry forward.