Supporters of the Tes #LetThemTeach campaign have an opportunity to urge the government to give teachers higher priority for UK visas.
The migration advisory committee last month began a consultation on the ‘shortage occupation’ list which closes on January 6.
If an occupation appears on the list, then it is given a higher priority for a visa each month.
Under the UK’s current immigration system, the number of “tier 2” visas for non-EU skilled workers is capped each month.
Earlier this year, Tes exposed the plight of international teachers who had been forced to leave British classrooms because the monthly cap was severely oversubscribed.
When this happens a points-based system comes into play, which is heavily weighted towards applicants’ salaries – effectively penalising teachers compared to higher paid professions.
Job roles appearing on the shortage occupation list do not need to command a large salary to be given priority for a visa, but currently only teachers of maths, physics, computer science and Mandarin are recognised on the list.
The Tes investigation into teachers facing deportation spawned #LetThemTeach – a campaign to get the whole teaching profession added to the shortage occupation list.
To date the campaign has been supported by all the UK’s major education unions, the Chartered College of Teaching, the House of Commons Education Select Committee, the Scottish government, the Liberal Democrats, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan and some of the largest multi-academy trusts in the country.
A parliamentary petition has also attracted more than 5,000 signatures.
In June the government commissioned the migration advisory committee to carry out a full review of the composition of the shortage occupation list, to report in Spring 2019.
The committee has now opened its call for evidence. Following its review it will make a recommendations about whether the current teaching occupations stay on the list, and whether any new ones are added.
In its teacher recruitment bulletin this month, the Department for Education flagged up the consultation to those “interested in submitting evidence to the MAC to argue for more teaching subjects to be included on the shortage occupation list”.