The body, which advises the government on migration issues, is reviewing the shortage occupation list which tells the Government where the key skills shortages are in the economy.
For a job to be included on the list, there must be a ‘demonstrable national shortage’.
The early years sector is facing a recruitment crisis, with 45 per cent of all settings having a current vacancy, according to Ceeda. Between July-September 2012 and the same period in 2016 there was a drop of 41 per cent in certifications of Level 3 childcare qualifications.
The consultation says eligible jobs must also be ‘skilled to the required level’ and ‘demonstrate that it is sensible to seek to fill vacancies with migrant labour from outside of the European Economic Area.’
Which skills levels are on the list?
Jobs will only be included on the list if they meet minimum skills requirements. The minimum skills level for this list is eligibility for a Tier 2 visa – which currently requires skills equivalent to level 6 (degree level). However, the MAC has recommended the Government lower this to include job roles at level 3 and above. The consultation says, ‘The Home Office has indicated that it is considering our recommendations. In addition, with the Brexit negotiations currently on-going, the context in which we will be delivering our report remains uncertain.’
The Tier 2 visa is the main route for skilled employees from non-EEA countries. If this was widened to include jobs at Level 3 skill levels, this would make it easier for nurseries to recruit outside the EEA, but the attached minimum salary requirement of £30,000 would limit recruitment both within and outside the EEA.
However the consultation asks for information as to what salaries are associated with the jobs for which there is a shortage.
Various costs are associated with Tier 2 – employers have to have a licence and pay for each candidate. For a small Tier 2 sponsor, the annual licence is £536. In addition to maintaining a licence and paying application fees, employers are also required to pay a fee for each Certificate of Sponsorship that is allocated to it. For Tier 2 workers the fee is £199 per worker.
There is also a cap on the number of Tier 2 workers allowed per month.
However the tier 2 route is the main way for non EEA migrants to work in the UK and having early years practitioners on the shortages list could make it easier for employers to do this.
Filling in the consultation
The consultation asks for lists of job titles of workers associated with shortages and then asks for information about how this relates to the Office for National Statistics classifications (job titles and codes).
We have pulled out the relevant codes to use:
For level 3 staff, use the code – 6121 and job title NURSERY NURSES AND ASSISTANTS. Somewhat confusingly, the ONS designates these as level 3 qualifications. Searching for ‘early years educator’ and ‘early years practitioner’ brings up this code.
For level 2 staff – there is no appropriate code. However the consultation asks for the closest standardised job titles. Practitioners could use the code above and then fill in further details about qualification requirements and pay levels.
For Early Years Teachers/ Early Years Professionals, use 2315: PRIMARY AND NURSERY EDUCATION TEACHING PROFESSIONALS – this indicates a member of staff has QTS. However the consultation asks for the closest standardised job titles. Note ‘early years professional’ is a standardised title but relates to ‘welfare professionals’ working with ‘young people’
For Childminders use 6122: CHILDMINDERS AND RELATED OCCUPATIONS
For Nursery Managers, use 2319: TEACHING AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL PROFESSIONALS N.E.C. (The code description states jobs related to this code include nursery manager and owner)
Consultation documents are available here
The consultation closes on 6th January