TIGA, the network for video games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, has welcomed the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) review of the shortage occupation list (SOL).
The MAC is an independent government advisory committee who advise the government on migration issue and makes recommendations to the SOL. The SOL comprises occupations and job titles held to be in shortage across the UK. Job titles on the SOL are not required to undertake the Resident Labour Market Test or meet the five-year salary threshold for settlement.
In a review published on Wednesday 29 May 2018, the MAC recommended that a number of games-related roles should be retained or added to the SOL. The MAC’s recommendations include:
- Expansion of Programmers and Software Development Professionals code (2136) to include all related job titles on the SOL, including Games Designers. The MAC stated that this occupation ‘tops our shortage indicators’ ranking and has had above average vacancy rate’.
- Inclusion of additional roles under the Web Design and Development Professionals code (2137) on the SOL, including UX and VFX Designers. Currently, SOC 2137 is not present on the SOL. This report is the first to consider Web design and development professionals in detail.
- Expansion of Artists code (3411) to include all job titles within this SOC code. The list of job titles requested to be put on the SOL or to remain on the SOL were: 3D artist, technical artist, animator, art director, VFX artist, character artist, UI artist, lighting artist, technical animator, technical artist, character artist, concept artist, storyboard artist, previsualisation artist, layout artist and lead marketing artist.
- Inclusion of additional roles under the Graphic Designers code (3421) on the SOL.
- Retaining Arts Officers, Producers and Directors code (3416) on the SOL. Within this occupation, the MAC noted that ‘gaming has a range of SMEs who struggle to compete on salary with larger organisations and other industries that require the same skill set (e.g. the financial sector)’.
- Expansion of IT Business Analysts, Architects and System Designers code (2135) to include the entire occupation on the SOL. The MAC has also recommended removing the requirement for a migrant to have a minimum of five years’ work experience for this code, as it is ‘no longer feasible as demand for these roles is significantly outstripping supply in the UK’.
Many of the roles recommended for inclusion on the SOL are in line with the recommendations put forward by TIGA within our written evidence submission to the MAC. TIGA called on the Government to enable games businesses to recruit non-UK workers to fill high and medium skilled roles after Brexit, while continuing the development of a highly skilled domestic workforce.
Under section 4E.77 of the review, the MAC also notes the success and value of the TIGA University Accreditation Scheme, referencing the scheme as a long term strategy for solving digital skills gaps.
In response to the report, Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO said:
“TIGA welcomes the recommendations put forward by the MAC. The number of gaming industry relevant recommendations indicates that the MAC has a good understanding of our industry’s skill shortages and it is great news that our requests have been listened to.
“Our research indicates that 20 per cent of people working in the UK video games industry are EU nationals, with 5 per cent coming from the rest of the world. If the UK games industry is to remain world leading after Brexit, then our industry needs to be able to hire non-UK workers to fill high and medium skilled roles via the Shortage Occupation List.
“TIGA also welcomes the MAC’s acknowledgement of the TIGA University Accreditation Scheme. A lot of work goes into ensuring both prospective students and game developers can identify those courses that are producing industry ready graduates. Only the very best undergraduate and postgraduate university courses receive TIGA accreditation.
“We look forward to the Government’s response to the MAC’s recommendations and for changes to be implemented.”