Gamers urge Government to keep Shortage Occupation List
Government plans to abolish the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) have been heavily criticised by the UK games industry trade association, TIGA.
Gaming industry firms could experience a slowdown in growth and recruitment if SOL is scrapped, according to the association.
SOL is an official record of job positions that are unfilled by UK residents, which enables the gaming industry to quickly fill job vacancies for software developers, artists, graphic designers, producers and production managers from outside the UK and EU.
The list outlines jobs that suffer from skills shortages, and currently includes industry role in sectors such as healthcare, specialist science and engineering positions, and computing roles.
UK Border Agency is currently reviewing the SOL to potentially remove occupations that have remained on the list for a certain period of time, irrespective of a labour shortage in that sector.
TIGA has spoken out against Government proposals to remove a fast-track recruitment system that enables employers to find skilled workers quickly.
The trade association said that, if forced to advertise for a 28 day period in the UK/EU market before looking elsewhere, the games industry would suffer, and would struggle with an ineffective recruitment process.
Dr Richard Wilson, chief executive of TIGA, commented: “The games industry requires a highly skilled workforce to operate effectively.
“TIGA research indicates that the industry suffers from some skills shortages and so some games studios need to recruit from outside of the European Economic Area.
“The advent of Games Tax Relief – a measure which TIGA has consistently campaigned for – will increase the demand for highly skilled development staff, as several thousand new jobs will be created.
“If the Government eliminates the SOL then some studios will take longer to fill vacancies, important business activities could be delayed and business growth held back.
“If the Government insists upon removing the software developer and producer and production roles from the SOL then there should be a substantial transition period to give studios, universities and training providers an opportunity to meet skill needs.”
TIGA recommended retaining the SOL and keeping key games industry roles on the list to ensure the sector does not suffer from a drawn out recruitment process which could damage business.
Dr Wilson concluded: “Abolishing the SOL does nothing to help business or contribute to economic growth. The Government should think again.”