Digital technology specialists to be added to the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List as of February 2016

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has added four more positions in the tech sector to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This is part of a project of ongoing revisions to this list. Product managers, data scientists, senior developers and cyber security specialists will now be seen as priority applicants for Tier 2 visas.


Earlier this year, the MAC performed a partial review of the SOL for the UK and Scotland. The review focused on graduate occupations; particularly those in the digital technology sector.

These positions have been added to the SOL in reaction to the results of a TechUK survey. Respondents listed senior developers, big data specialists and cyber security specialists as positions with the most pronounced shortages. More than half of the survey respondents stated that they had a shortage of specialised developers.

What is the Shortage Occupation List?

The SOL is a directory of positions deemed to be in shortage in the UK. Usually, a company recruiting a non-EU national would need to show that they have carried out a “resident labour market test” by advertising the position locally. The positions on the SOL are exempt from this requirement, making the application process simpler and faster for both applicant and employer.

New additions to the SOL

Four jobs in the digital technology sector will be added to the SOL from February 2016: Product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist.

These additions are specifically aimed towards jobs in small to medium-sized qualifying companies – from 50 to 250 employees. Applicants will need to show that they have five or more years’ relevant experience and a proven track record of leading a team.

Besides their placement on the SOL, the MAC is also recommending that government eases regulations on hiring non-European staff for these positions.

About the Tier 2 points-based system

This visa category is for migrant workers who have are offered a skilled job from a licensed employer. There are four categories in Tier 2: Intra-Company Transfer, General, Minister of Religion, and Sportsperson.

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