The latest review of the shortage occupation list (SOL), produced for the Government by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) suggests that vets, web designers and architects should be added to the list.

However, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the new recommendations ignore the value which workers at all levels bring to the logistics sector, one of the UK’s most crucial drivers of trade.

“Jobs such as HGV driving, where the industry already has an acute skills shortage, could work within the SOL and there are long term positions offering good salaries available now,” the FTA’s Head of Skills Development Sally Gilson said.

However, by classifying HGV driving as a level 2 qualification, the Government is ensuring that it will fail to qualify on the SOL and nor will it fit within the new immigration system, she went on, and that will leave the industry searching for the workers needed to keep the country trading.

Ms Gilson has urged the Government to move away from prioritising purely academic classifications when talking about skills and to focus on vocational skills, arguing that “driving an HGV is a complicated matter”.

She said that the MAC report is wrong to conclude that lower skilled roles would be filled if logistics, as a sector, simply paid more.

“Logistics businesses are currently operating on very narrow, fluid margins, and the jobs on offer are often in areas of very low unemployment,” Ms Gilson argued. “Quite simply there just isn’t the labour available.”

The UK’s future immigration system needs to accommodate the requirement for workers with practical, as well as academic, qualifications, she concluded.

The MAC report can be found at assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.

Last reviewed 5 June 2019