The Home Office has agreed with the UK government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommendation to include a number of video game industry disciplines on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL).
MAC recommended that the list – which is used to prioritise visa applications from immigrant candidates with expertise in a range of professions – be updated back in May, stating the revision was necessary to reflect shortages found across many creative industries, including roles commonly needed in the video games sector.
According to Ukie, the Immigration Rules have now been amended to accommodate the recommendations put forth by the MAC earlier this year, formally putting the changes into law.
The Migration Advisory Committee specifically noted at the time that while “there are initiatives to tackle [shortages]”, the UK video games industry “sits well below the average for gender and BAME representation”, as well as reporting that the digital skills gap “is larger in the UK than anywhere else in Europe”.
“A large proportion of the job titles requesting to be put on the SOL for the Creative Industries are those which require STEM skills, for example within video gaming, VFX, and animation,” the report stated. “Companies have to compete for high skilled roles which require IT skills with other higher-paying industries, for example the financial sector.”
Consequently, the review recommends jobs such as programmers, artists, producers, and directors should be amongst the roles prioritised when considering immigration applications, as well as all jobs categorised under “IT business analysts, architects and system designers”.
“The rapid development in technology can cause difficulties getting workers with the skills companies need to remain competitive,” the report added. “Gaming has a range of SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] who struggle to compete on salary with larger organisations and other industries that require the same skill set (e.g. the financial sector) and so often offers shares in the company as an alternative incentive.”