Calls to give more teachers visa priority rejected

Migration Advisory Committee says only certain subject teachers should be on the shortage occupation list, despite #LetThemTeach campaign

Helen Ward

#letthemteach pic at airport

No change is being recommended to the list of teachers who are eligible for higher priority visas each month, despite the continuing recruitment crisis.

The Migration Advisory Committee today published its review of the “shortage occupation list” (SOL), which has recommended that teachers in maths, physics, science (where an element of physics will be taught), computer science and Mandarin remain on the list.


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While it said that there was evidence of a shortage of maths, physics and Mandarin teachers and an increasing need for computer science teachers, it added that when looking at secondary education teachers as a whole the vacancy rate was around average.

It added that primary and nursery teachers had a vacancy rate below average and said: “While there are clear problems with the occupation which may lead to shortages in future. The evidence that we have received does not undeniably demonstrate the presence of a national shortage.”

The recommendation will come as a disappointment to the unions that backed the Tes #LetThemTeach campaign, which was launched last June and called for the entire teaching profession to be added to the shortage occupation list.

The campaign followed a Tes investigation which revealed that immigration rules were forcing some international teachers to quit their jobs and leave the country at short notice.  

Today's report has recommended adding some occupations to the list, including vets, web designers and architects.

The report also points out that there is “considerable uncertainty” surrounding Brexit and the future immigration system.

And it recommends that when the shape of a new immigration system is clearer, the role of the shortage occupation list should bereviewed.

Committee chair Professor Alan Manning said: “Our recommendations are clearly only applicable under the current immigration system, while EU free movement remains. We are recommending a full review of the SOL once there is a clearer picture of what the future immigration system will look like.”

The Migration Advisory Committee is an independent body that advises the government on migration issues, and it is sponsored by the Home Office.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are grateful to the Migration Advisory Committee for a very comprehensive report. We will consider it carefully and respond in due course.”

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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