The UK’s electronics industry has long been supported by migrant talent. With a domestic shortfall that’s growing by the day, the industry has become increasingly reliant on overseas workers from inside and outside the EEA to sustain its rapid growth.
Brexit has contributed to the current skills shortage in the industry, with many overseas candidates concerned about impending changes to immigration policies and choosing to work elsewhere. However, to date, the only change to immigration policy has been positive for overseas workers, with a number of electrical engineering roles recently added to the UK’s Shortage Occupation List.
What is the UK Shortage Occupation List?
The UK Shortage Occupation List is a list that’s drawn up by the Home Office and includes every skilled profession in the UK that cannot be filled by resident workers – that is, those from the UK or the European Economic Area (EEA).
There are a diverse range of roles included on the list, such as nurses and ballet dancers, but more relevant is the inclusion of electrical and electronics engineering positions such as power system engineers, integrated circuit test engineers and many others. For workers outside of the UK and the EEA, the application process becomes much simpler if the role they’re interested in appears the list.
What if the role isn't on the list?
If a role does not appear on the Shortage Occupation List, as part of the application process, the vacancy will usually be subject to the Residential Labour Market Test (RLMT). To satisfy the test, the role must be advertised for a minimum of 28 days on government and private sector recruitment sites to residential and EEA talent before it can be offered to candidates from outside the EEA.
If two applicants are equally qualified for the position, one from inside the EEA (a ‘settled worker’) and the other from outside the EEA (a ‘non-settled worker’), the settled worker must be offered the role first. Even if the settled worker only meets the minimum requirements for the role and the non-settled applicant is better qualified, the settled worker must still be given preference.
Any non-EEA electronics industry candidate applying for a profession listed on the Shortage Occupation List will be given immediate consideration when applying.
What are the visa requirements for migrant electrical engineers?
If the terms of the Residential Labour Market Test are met or if the role appears on the Shortage Occupation List (so the Residential Labour Market Test does not apply), non-EEA electrical engineers must obtain a Skilled Work Visa before they can enter the UK. This is called a Tier 2 General Visa.
The applicant must meet certain requirements to be granted a Tier 2 General Visa. That includes:
• Have a valid certificate of sponsorship for the job
• Show they’re being paid an appropriate salary for the job
• Prove their knowledge of English
• Have personal savings so they can support themselves once they arrive in the UK
• Prove they can travel and provide details of their travel history over the last five years
Skilled Work Visas will typically last for three years or more and a fee must be paid to obtain one, although that fee is reduced if the role is included on the Shortage Occupation List. The visa can be extended for up to five years if the individual still works for the same company or institution.
Are you looking for a role in the UK electronics industry?
18 Jan 2021
State of the Power Electronics Jobs Market for Design and Sales
It’s fair to say that the power electronics jobs market has been on a bit of a bumpy road over the last six months. However, if you’re looking for a new role in power electronics sales or design, the good news that the jobs market has bounced back. Demand is now on the up, with employers increasingly looking for candidates with design-in wins.
22 Dec 2020
At PER-International, the COVID-19 hiatus is over and we’re officially back to doing what we do best - connecting the world’s best electronics, power electronics, SMPS, UPS and semiconductor professionals with leading employers around the world.
09 Mar 2020
What is the impact of the coronavirus on the global supply chain?
The coronavirus outbreak has had a significant impact on the global supply chain, but when will it peak and how is it affecting businesses around the world?
24 Jan 2020
How to get a non-EEA visa to work in the UK electronics industry
Calling all migrant electrical engineers – the UK needs you. But how can non-EEA electrical engineers tap into opportunities in the UK electronics industry?
12 Dec 2019
Rapid growth creates skills shortages in the UK electronics sector
The UK electronics sector experienced the fastest rate of growth of any manufacturing sector last year, but a shortage of skilled workers threatens to stop the industry in its tracks.
13 Nov 2019
Electrical engineers are added to the UK’s shortage occupation list
PER-International is happy to report that recent changes to the UK’s visa policy mean that electrical engineers and electronics engineers have now been added to the Shortage Occupation List.
13 Sep 2019
US-China trade war reroutes global electronics supply chains
Global electronics supply chains are being rerouted as a result of the continuing trade war between the US and China. However, it’s the US importers who are being left to pick up the bill.
09 Jul 2019
London’s eco-city aspirations and the role of electric vehicles
With Sadiq Kahn’s ULEZ initiative and the Electric Vehicle Taskforce, we’re being prepped for a fully electrified London. What can we expect and when?
09 Jul 2019
The UK seeks middle ground in Huawei 5G dispute
The UK’s decision not to call for a blanket Huawei ban is its way of securing the network against interference while ensuring its 5G networks are competitive.
29 May 2019
The impact of working from home on employee mental health
The benefits of home working for employee mental health are often cited, but could there also be a damaging side to the flexible working revolution?
29 Apr 2019
Is it time to fundamentally rethink workplace culture?
Have you ever wondered whether there might be something fundamentally wrong with workplace culture? No? What if we told you that research has found that around the world, just 13 percent of employees are engaged…
25 Mar 2019
10 top tips when preparing for a job interview
We discuss what a successful job interview looks like and introduce 10 top tips to help you prepare. Here’s our guide to preparing for a job interview.