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Radiographers 'should be added' to occupation shortage list

30 May, 2019
Migrants

'Medical radiographers' are one of a wide range of skilled staff that should be recruited from outside the EU to meet shortages in the NHS, according to the body which monitors workforce shortages in the UK.

The Migration Advisory Committee has carried out the most comprehensive review in six years of skills needs and has recommended to the government that the Shortage Occupation List for the recruitment of staff from outside the European Economic Area needs to be expanded dramatically to meet employer's needs.

Occupations on the SOL benefit because:

  • Employers do not have to advertise vacancies first in the UK
  • There is no requirement to meet the £35,800 minimum salary for overseas applicants
  • Visa application fees are lower
  • If the skilled labour cap of 20,000-plus is reached then occupations on the SOL are given priority

"The first priority should be that we are attracting and training the brightest and most dedicated people who are already resident in the UK to diagnostic imaging and oncology roles," Charlotte Beardmore, the Society's director of professional policy, said.

"However, because of the lack of sufficient investment in training and supporting staff, we have an ongoing shortage of people to deliver the effective and safe services that our patients deserve, so we welcome the MAC's recommendations.

"We shall be making representations to government to add radiographers to the SOL as the committee has recommended."

The Society submitted evidence to the MAC using data from the recently published UK diagnostic and radiotherapy workforce censuses, which can be found in the policy and guidance document library.

Professor Alan Manning, the chair of the MAC commented, "The labour market is very different now from the last SOL review in 2013. Unemployment is lower, vacancies higher and free movement (from the EU is) no longer providing the ready supply of workers it once did. In addition, there is considerable uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the future immigration system.

"Together, these factors lead to a high level of employer concern."

The NHS is already the largest single employer of non-EU staff with almost 7% of the workforce, compared with 3.8% for the rest of the UK economy. The Committee is recommending that all categories of medical professionals are added to the list.

If the proposals were adopted in full by the government, the list would cover 9% of jobs in the labour market, compared with 1% currently. 

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