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Changes to the national shortage occupation list for work permits

With effect from 18 March 2008, 38 healthcare-related occupations will be removed from the national shortage occupation list for work permits.

A full list of the occupations is below. The Home Office will publish a revised list of shortage occupations once the changes have come into effect.

These changes to the national shortage occupation list for work permits follow research conducted by the NHS workforce review team on behalf of the Department of Health.

The team reviewed all current healthcare occupations included on the list in light of the latest labour market research and skills needed in the healthcare sector. The review covered the whole of the United Kingdom and involved discussions with relevant key stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. The recommendations of the review were discussed and agreed by the Healthcare Sector Advisory Panel.

All work permit applications received for the listed posts on or after 18 March 2008 will now need to be subject to a full resident labour market test. Employers will be required to submit evidence that the posts have been advertised, with full details of people who applied and were interviewed, and why resident workers were not considered suitable.

Work permits will still be issued for these occupations if, following advertising, no suitably qualified resident candidate has been found.

Occupations to be removed from the list of national shortage occupations

The following occupations will be removed from the list from 18 March 2008:


Consultants in dental specialities (except consultants and specialists in paediatric dentistry, which remain on the list).

Consultant posts in the following specialist areas:
  • accident and emergency;
  • additional dental specialities;
  • cardiothoracic surgery;
  • clinical radiology;
  • dermatology;
  • endocrinology and diabetes mellitus;
  • endodontics;gastroenterology;
  • general internal medicine;
  • general surgery;
  • histopathology;
  • infectious diseases;
  • medical oncology;
  • neurosurgery;
  • obstetrics and gynaecology;
  • ophthalmology;
  • otolaryngology;
  • paediatric cardiology;
  • palliative medicine;
  • psychotherapy;
  • public health medicine;
  • respiratory medicine;
  • rheumatology;
  • trauma and orthopaedic surgery; and
  • urology.
General medical occupations:
  • dietician;
  • biomedical scientist or medical laboratory scientific officer;
  • occupational therapists;
  • pre-registration cytogeneticists; and
  • speech and language therapists (employed at Agenda for Change band 5 or 6, or independent sector equivalents).

Not all nursing occupations are being removed from the list. The details below set out those we are removing and those that remain on the list.

The following nursing occupations are being removed from the list:

  • midwives; and
    • audiology;
    • sleep or respiratory physiology;
    • neurophysiology;
    • cardiac physiology;
    • clinical radiology; and
    • pathology.

However, the list of shortage occupations still includes registered nurses employed at bands 7 and 8 or their independent sector equivalents and registered nurses employed in the following specialties:

  • operating theatre nurse; and
  • critical care nurse (nurses working in wards with a Level 2 or Level 3 classification).