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BACK in September 2008 the British Government’s newly-formed Migration Advisory Committee issued its first report recommending inclusion of “ship and hovercraft officers” on its shortage occupation lists for the United Kingdom and Scotland.  These lists comprise occupations where, in the Committee’s view, there are shortages which can sensibly be filled by enabling employers to recruit migrants.

This is something we have been predicting for a few years now.  Whilst we have not yet heard whether the British Government will accept the recommendation, at the time of the announcement, the reaction from industry and seafarers’ unions was at odds.  Employer reaction was positive but Seafarers’ union Nautilus declared its intention to challenge the proposal, arguing that making it easier to employ foreign officers removes an incentive to train sufficient British officers.

What we don’t know is whether the phrase “ship and hovercraft officers” will cover qualified officers working ashore or if it will be restricted to those currently employed in seagoing jobs.  If our readership can shed any light on this we’d be delighted to hear from you.

The Migration Advisory Committee has said that it will review its recommendations in March and then again at least every two years.

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