Favourite shortage occupation: meteorologists
It’s official: we don’t have enough home-grown talent in the weather forecasting department and need to import skilled weatherpersons from abroad. In order to tell us that it will rain again. The other highlight is ballet dancers.
The full list is here. It relates to the introduction of Tier 2 of the points based system at the end of November 2008. Essentially, extra points will be awarded to an applicant in a shortage occupation category, making it easier to get a visa.
The interesting entry, for my money, is ‘skilled cooks or chefs’. The way that Tier 2 has been contructed makes it all but impossible for chefs to qualify, unless they would earn over £24,000 (quite a lot for a chef). This is because the old category for entry with three years of specialist skills at equivalent to NVQ level 3 has been scrapped. However, finding home-grown skilled Indian or Thai chefs is impossible, so ‘ethnic’ restaurants have relied on getting work permits for their cooks. That looked like it was going to become unviable, but the inclusion of skilled cooks on the shortage occupation list will make it much easier for them to qualify for Tier 2 permits.
Interestingly, to qualify as ‘skilled’ they have to earn at least £8.10 per hour after deductions for accommodation and meals. To my mind, that doesn’t say much about how skilled they are, just how desperate the restaurant is. And it is strange to add another earnings criteria to the existing one already built into Tier 2. It looks a lot like the Home Office wanted to close off this route of entry for chefs, but the Migration Advisory Committee has experienced some hard lobbying by the restaurant trade.
Chicken tikka masala can continue to be the nation’s favourite food.