Opinion Former Article

Chamber of Shipping: Chamber successfully highlights industry skills shortage

After successfully lobbying, the Chamber of Shipping is pleased to see that the Migration Advisory Committee has recognised that ship and hovercraft officers are a shortage occupation in the UK in its report - Skilled, Shortage, Sensible: The recommended shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland.

This report highlights skills shortages in a number of areas across the UK workforce, from skilled senior care workers to ships' officers.

New recommended lists of occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK and Scotland were published today by the Migration Advisory Committee, as part of the Committee's first major report.

The Migration Advisory Committee was established by the Government to designate "shortage occupations" for the purposes of the new points-based system for immigration (to replace work permits.) The report aims to provide evidence-based advice on which shortages of skilled labour can sensibly be filled through immigration.

Normally, if a worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) wants to take a job in the UK, the prospective employer must first carry out a local labour market test to establish whether there is any local unemployed person capable of doing the job. This requirement is waived for shortage occupations.

Tim Springett, Head of Labour Affairs, said: "We are pleased that the industry's skills shortage in these key areas has been acknowledged by the Committee. There is a shortage of ship and hovercraft officers in the UK and throughout Europe.

"Provided the Government accepts the Committee's recommendations, operators of ships to which the points-based system applies, or will apply, will be spared the obligation to undertake fruitless local labour market tests before bringing officers from outside the European Economic Area to work on their ships."

*Please see the attached Chamber evidence to the Migration Advisory Committee*

For further information please contact:
John Stevenson, Chamber of Shipping
020 7417 2833

Notes to Editor

· A copy of the Skilled, Shortage, Sensible: The recommended shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland report can be found here: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/workingwithus/indbodies/mac/macfirstshortagelist/

· The Chamber of Shipping is the trade association for the UK shipping industry, working to promote and protect the interests of its members both nationally and internationally. With 140 members and associate members, the Chamber represents over 860 ships of about 23 million gross tonnes and is recognised as the voice of the UK shipping industry.

· For more information on British Shipping, please go to: http://www.british-shipping.org

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