Ballerinas and fish-gutters beat techies in UK immigration race
Gov says computer scientists not in short supply
The UK is in dire need of ballet dancers, fish-gutters and sheep shearers - but not, it seems IT staff.
The government’s Migration Advisory Committee today published its “list of occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK and Scotland”, which will provide the backbone for a new points-based system for determining which non-EU citizens can come and work in the UK.
The list - which the government is not obliged to accept - details job titles and occupations that the committee has deemed “as being both skilled and in shortage and where... it is sensible to fill these shortages, at least in the short term, through immigration”.
Given the UK’s poor record in producing maths and science grads, and the government’s ambition to turn this sceptred isle into a knowledge economy, you might have expected techies to be well up the list.
And they are – at least when it comes to the traditional hard hat and white coat varieties. Civil engineers, physicists and geologists, chemical engineers and biologists are all in short supply, according to the committee. Even meteorologists are listed, as if we need to import people to tell us it’s raining.
Medical types - from doctors and nurses, through dentists, to care home assistants and vets - are also seemingly unicorn-rare in the UK’s labour force.
So far, so unexpected. But the list also highlights an apparent shortage of chefs and cooks (at least those earning more than £8.10 an hour, after deductions). And if you were worrying that the UK was falling behind in the classic dance stakes, don’t worry - “skilled ballet dancers” from outside the EU will be able to leap to the front of the queue.
And despite a rising fascination with bladed objects amongst the nation’s youth, sheep shearers and “manual filleters of frozen fish" (in Scotland) are also likely to be welcomed by the Home Office.
The prospect of a recruitment drive for bridge builders, dancers and jolly livestock coiffeurs will no doubt stun IT employers, who are seeing their wage bill rise as they compete for competent UK-based techies.
The one bright spot, perhaps, is that science and maths teachers are also on the list, meaning that those youngsters who don’t decide to chance their arm in the UK’s vibrant sheep-rearing sector might stand a slightly better chance of being technically literate by the time they get to school-leaving age. ®
This whole debate is a big red herring. The points-based system does not apply to "intra company tranfers", which is where a company brings an employee from one country to work in another. For IT jobs there is no meaningful control on this, and the numbers of work permits (under the old system) for IT workers have been high and rising.
In practice, this means the big corporations can use cheap labour to depress wages, while the government makes it hard for anyone not employed by such companies to travel here for work. Ordinary punters lose out whether from the UK or abroad.
pretend IT people - Ageist Pillock!
> Sorry, but there should a certificate that you need to work in IT and in the middle should be the question: Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?
Well, I guess that demonstrates that el Reg is not immune to publishing ageist nonsense provided by its readers.
Would the idiot who made that suggestion care tell tell us which of those very recent machines was played with by any of the founders and developers of Information science, computer science, software engineering, or information technology? I mean people like Tom Kilburn, Alan Turing, Freddie Williams, Grace Hopper, Betty Holberton, Maurice Wilkes, John Backus, John McCarthy, Ralph Griswold, Chris Strachey, Ted Codd, Alain Colmeraur, Robin Milner, Chuck Moore, Charles Bachman, Claud Shannon, .Ralph Hartley, .... there are many more who were born too early to be kids when the machines you name were released - and some are still going strong. Indeed, if we take "kid" as meaning under 16, 43 years now (under 16 in 1981) is too old to have had any of those machines as a kid.
Anyway, I'm not ashamed that the first computers I worked with with were FP Orion, IBM1620, Elliot 503, Atlas 1, Deuce , or that I worked with those machines a decade and a half before C.R. Evans wrote "The Mighty Micro" (and he died two years before any machine on your list was released).
Since the ZX Spectrum is on your list, maybe you think Clive Sinclair had a toy computer when he was a kid? If so, I'm glad to disillusion you: he didn't.
Maybe you think the youngsters in the Acorn Proton team played with toy computers when they were kids (for the youngsters on the team like Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber, that would be maybe seven or eight years before the Proton became the BBC Micro)? Well, if so: wrong again!.
So take your crazy idea that no-one born before 1966 could imaginably be qualified to work in IT and stick it somewhere where the rest of us don't have to look at it.
How does one move to London when the price of one's house anywhere else would buy a cardboard box in Peckham?
right man for the job
The group I'm with has a fine bunch of play it by the rules Swiss and German IT guys - great for a company in the over-legislated Pharma industry.
But we do have one Russian FixIt, who knows how to crack windows, intranet, file systems, security,... to get a result - Hi Igor.
there are zero reasons to import i.t. people. i work with eastern europeans on a daily basis and have never seen any of them, just like i have never seen the guy who contracts from devon. can't think why we have not exported his job yet .... gives me something to aim for this afternoon i guess.
doctors? there are many without jobs now! lower their salaries like any other occupation with too many bodies being supplied ...