back to article Ballerinas and fish-gutters beat techies in UK immigration race

The UK is in dire need of ballet dancers, fish-gutters and sheep shearers - but not, it seems IT staff. The government’s Migration Advisory Committee today published its “list of occupations for which there is a shortage of skilled workers in the UK and Scotland”, which will provide the backbone for a new points-based system …


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  1. Adrian Jones

    UK and Scotland?

    Has Scotland seceded from the union now?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "shortage of skilled workers in the UK and Scotland". Since when was Scotland not in the UK?

  3. Robert Grant Silver badge


    There are loads of doctors; the government trained them. There aren't enough doctors in hospitals because there wasn't enough money earmarked to employ them all, so some are now out of work.

    Good, eh?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how about

    Not accepting anybody, and training up the lazy, unskilled, wastes of space that constitute a large part of the indiginous population sat on their fat ar*es claiming benefits.

    or even altering recruitment practices slightly so that people without 2-3 years experience can get a job as a trainee before decrying that there isn't anyone suitable in the country and looking elsewhere

  5. Graham Cunningham

    Chrome again

    After news of Germany's Austro-Dutch empire, new shock report of Scotland's secession from the UK ...

    "...skilled workers in the UK and Scotland”

    Mine's the one with the independent tartan lining.

  6. P.Alan Smith

    UK and Scotland?

    I was golfing in Ayrshire only 10 days ago and assumed that I was in the UK as they accepted my Bank of England notes ... perhaps there's another Scotland for me to find!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Little by little the night turns around

    The list also includes "ship and hovercraft officers". Where is Britain going to get hovercraft officers? I feel sad at the thought of all those hovercraft sitting idle. I imagine that the rubber skirts perish if the owners don't run them up and down the jetty a few times a year.

    Presumably we have plenty of submarine officers. Does Britain have enough balloonists? Mole-men?

  8. Whitter
    Thumb Up

    Fish filliters

    Filliting frozen fish? That's a right hard skill, sure enough.

    I always thaw them first.

  9. Matthew Glubb

    Lack of officially recognised qualifications?

    In the case of most of the other professions mentioned, they all have long standing qualifications that are recognised by law / employers / government. In the case of IT, it's all too easy to claim to be competent in your field, by the time your employer finds out you aren't, you are already in the country.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Too many pretend IT people!

    The reason IT staff are not needed is because every Tom, Dick and Harry even remotely connected to a computer these days, say they work in IT, web designers say they are IT people, generic security people say they are IT specialists. No you are a graphics designer with an expert use of a computer tool and using Excel to plot the number of viruses that got lose this year in your company's network does not qualify you to be an IT person!

    Sorry, but there should a certificate that you need to work in IT and in the middle should be the question: Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?

    Then we'll IT staff get back up that list!!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    I am retraining as a ballerina

    I might be a white, male, desk-bound, middle-aged manager, but I'm not going to let some skinny foreign bitch come over here and steal my dream!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Ashley Pomeroy

    I thought we didn't have any hovercrafts left after watching the ones down at Gosport being ripped to shreds a few years back.

    even the grey RN one was striped down if memory serves me correctly.

    However I would happily join a training scheme to learn to pilot such air-beded machines... but its not something I've seen advertised in the "positions available" section of the papers.

  13. Trevor Pearson

    They missed .....

    I was disappointed that the committee failed to spot the depressingly large shortage of skilled Politicans, Quangoits and Think-tank-ists we need. I submit that their failure is proof positive of the need........

  14. Niall

    @Ashley Pomeroy

    A job where I help the owners of rubber skirts run up and down sounds interesting. Where can I sign up?

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Fish Filleters?

    That'll be why Peterhead and Fraserburgh are chock a block with Eastern Europeans, living 10 to a room and working for way below the minimum wage then.

  16. Jamie

    Loads of IT

    If that is the case then I hate to see what they would call a shortage. Every week I get at least one offer from a company to work for them on either a consultant basis or full time. Been in this country for almost 5 years was out of work for the first 5 days after which I had to look for work or go crazy.

    Usually in a recession or downturn in the economy IT are the first to go but I get just as many requests now as ever.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. David Harper

    @Evil Graham

    Look on the bright side, there are people who would probably pay good money to see you in a tutu. Your employees for a start. Go on, cheer them up tomorrow morning with a quick pas de deux.

  19. Jason Clery


    "Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?"

    Posh git, I had a ZX80 and a Commodore VIC 20

  20. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 13:44

    >Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?

    I pwned Micros, but that's because they were networked...

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Right On!!! Far to many Johnny Foreigners already in the UK IT market pulling down the rates for the real UK IT consultants. They also dilute the intelligence pool, making employers think all IT contractors are as thick as pig sh*t.

    There already is a qualifications for IT professionals - the BCS offer the CITP qualification as a starter for 10, but we all know real experience is what counts, not just lying on your CV and reading the odd webpage and gleaning techie sounding words....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    if companys would acctualy train people post degree, rather than wanting people with expirience then it would be better. Try finding a job for a non charterd engineer. Impossible.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    No need for techies

    They dont need to come here to get a job they can stay in India as everything has been outsourced.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Along with training the benefit wasters...

    As well as cutting benefits to a level where fat chav scum are forced to go back to work I propose that all government quangoites and think tank wankers are immediately retrained to do something useful like pick fruit and veg so we don't need to import the poles to do it for us.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Loads of IT

    Yeah, before I took my current role I was being bombarded by headhunters. Vacancies per day. All of them were, I finally managed to discover, requiring a minimum number of candidates in three figures. So you needed to be put forward for hundreds of them to be considered.

    The BCS and their ilk have swamped the system with so many semi-skilled IT graduates that the system of IT recruitment is grinding to a halt and can only be solved by churning out even more semi-skilled IT graduates so recruiters can't find staff who can do the job among the morass of semi-skilled IT graduates.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hold on .. has the Reg missed the point?

    Hold on a minute, surely its a good thing that IT is not listed as being a suitable skilled job to be filled through immigration?? Its bad enough to offshore work and people onshore lose jobs .. the last thing UK IT people might want is "in"-shoring where we bring people in on (potentially) lower wages, surely?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @David Harper

    "Go on, cheer them up tomorrow morning with a quick pas de deux."

    What are you on about? I didn't say I was learning to cook.

  28. Anthony

    @Anonymous Coward

    >ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC

    If only I'd kept them

    Especially the beeb!

    I miss connecting home made electronics to the user port and typing up a quick BASIC program to use it:(

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    There are plenty of skilled IT specialists in the UK (and Scotland too); it's just that businesses use recruiters who don't know an operating system from a browser, and because these businesses refuse to pay money-for-value.

    Glad to see at least One organisation hasn't fallen for the Skills Shortage Lobby

  30. Sarev
    Thumb Up

    @ Evil Graham

    Well, I for one would pay to watch that.

  31. Alan White

    RE: Has Scotland seceded from the union now?

    Scotland has different economic (and demographic) needs to the rest of the UK, so it needs to be regarded differently in any sensible (well, purporting to be) system. Albeit it'll be a system designed to dissuade immigration, if the current visa setup is anything to go by.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need for techies

    AC's right, they're not on the shortage list because they're not needed.

    What is required is a load of people willing to do menial seasonal work (fish & sheep), and highly skilled entertainers (ballerinas & footballers) then after the plebs have paid you a fortune for watching a load of blokes kick a ball about you can have your Salmon mousse, followed by a nice bit of roast lamb in your wool suit whilst watching the ballet.

  33. Eddie Edwards


    "ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?"

    Dragon 32?!

    WTF is a Sinclair Research 380 anyway?

  34. yeah, right.
    Gates Horns

    IT vs HR

    IT people know that there's more to being good at IT than some certifications. HR people, however, have no such knowledge. They're trained to look for young people with lots of certifications, regardless of the actual knowledge they have.

    HR is strangling not only the UK (and Scotland, apparently), but the world with their completely ignorant approach to screening applicants. We'd be much better of the whole lot were marched off a short pier, preferably after being fitted for cement shoes. I've yet to see a single HR group that actually adds value to any organization I've been with.

    Bill, because he convinced people that an MCSE is sufficient proof of knowledge in IT.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no shortage for a lot of them

    there's just a shortage of people who are willing to do the jobs at the salaries the companies offer.

    Why should someone go and take a job that "requires" a technical degree, but actually involves a bit of maths and the ability to follow some basic instructions, when they could get paid £5-10k more a year for fucking about in an office pretending they understand how the markets work?

  36. J
    IT Angle

    Re: how about

    "Not accepting anybody, and training up the lazy, unskilled, wastes of space that constitute a large part of the indiginous population sat on their fat ar*es claiming benefits."

    No good, because that would be, in the short term, more expensive and more work than just importing cheaper labor. Welcome to capitalism.

  37. ian

    Why is Northern Ireland not listed?

    Surely Northern Ireland has a shortage of ballerinas and a different demographic from Scotland and England. Or has devolution evolved so far?

    Lest we forget, these isles have a penguin shortage.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    No thank-you

    "Then we'll IT staff get back up that list!!"

    Oh good, then my entire department can be laid off yet again and replaced with half-price imports.

  39. Derek Hellam

    What shortage?

    There has never been a shortage of any skilled people in the UK. There is a shortage of skilled people willing to work for peanuts, in shitty companies with no benefits at all!

  40. Anonymous Coward

    Newbie Wankers @AC

    Mines the Altair 8800, home made, based on the Popular Electronics PC board.

    How do I learn sheep shearing? Buy a few of the cute darlings, hit the world wide tat bazaar for some scissors, view a couple of UBoob vids, and start hacking away? Isn't that how most of the IT people learned IT?

  41. P. Lee Silver badge

    re: Why is Northern Ireland not listed?

    ...because its "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland."

    All that NI goodness built right into the UK!

    Tux - more cuddly than Paris, Bill, Steve or a dead vulture.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    all that will happen...

    is that the same people will be shipped in under the guise of being fish gutters, sous chefs and ballerinas. I predict that the IT services companies will soon be announcing the creation of divisions devoted to Catering and Classical Dance.

    Mine's the McDonalds jacket with no stars on the name badge...

  43. Ian Oliver

    What about...

    jury members or are these going to be specifically appointed by Jaqui Smith?

  44. Chris G Silver badge

    IT is not on the list

    Because any one who has done any type of IT course will be included. Mums going back to work get freebie basic computing courses. The people who put these list together don't really know what a bricklayer really does, never mind an IT admin etc. Of for that matter a frozen fish gutting ballerina.

  45. hexacet
    Paris Hilton

    you missed the big one...

    according to the bbc news article england is also critically short of english teachers so we now have to recruit non english speakers to teach english to the english...


  46. Geoff Mackenzie

    Re: UK and Scotland, English Notes

    That's funny, I was in England a few months ago and they wouldn't take my Clydesdale Bank notes. I sense a curious asymmetry.

    Seriously, I don't think the large numbers of 'fake IT people' are really the problem. The UK's got an exit wound where industry used to be. All we manufacture is fresh food and bullshit. Both great industries, don't get me wrong, but they can only provide so many worthwhile jobs.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Re: Eddie Edwards

    "WTF is a Sinclair Research 380 anyway?"

    I think he meant an RML 380Z: or Research Machines 380Z:

    They were Z80 based machines on which, amongst other things, I did my A-level project. I remember with some glee writing a lisp/prolog hybrid language in Pascal on that beast.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Computers as a kid

    I can't help but feel that my old Atari 800 XL's being unfairly discriminated against here!

  49. mike panero
    Dead Vulture


    There appears to be none in Dorset & certainly not Bournemouth

    Worst food ever

  50. Keith T

    Govt currently understands law supply and demand on IT wages

    When there is a genuine of IT workers, IT worker wages will go up, and people will train to become IT workers. Unlike professions such as medicine, law and engineering, it doesn't take 20 years of experience to gain expert skill in programming, analysis or LAN administration, 5 years is plenty.

    While IT wages are depressed, informed intelligent people are going to seek other professions and trades.

  51. Martin Nicholls


    "will no doubt stun IT employers, who are seeing their wage bill rise as they compete for competent UK-based techies"

    Maybe, but it won't stun those of us who are perfectly compitent but can't get an IT job in this country for love nor money because there are non available.

    It got to the stage last year when I just said "enough is enough" and became self employed. Now I earn more than I could have possibly hoped for with *any* IT job working for a UK company by servicing clients mainly in the US, where they /actually do/ have a skills shortage. Best part is I can do it from pretty much anywhere in the world if I want to, all I need is an internet connection of 2.5G-ish phone speeds and a computer. Take *that* HMRC.

  52. Matthew Sullivan

    @AC Newbies...

    Trya self built NASCOM, and a Zenith. (oh and I still have 2 Beeb's here in Aus ;-))

  53. Keith T

    Govt priority makes sense according to other Reg articles

    According to the Reg article here there is going to be another glut of IT workers soon.

  54. tony trolle


    try Annan (Scotland) about 200 fisher cutters out of work.

    Jobs taken by Poles and shipping spawns over to Thailand for de-shelling then back again for breading.

    And Derek Hellam has it right.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @"how about" AC

    "Not accepting anybody, and training up the lazy, unskilled, wastes of space that constitute a large part of the indiginous population sat on their fat ar*es claiming benefits."

    Cheeky bar*****. I've been out of work since one of the big Outsourcers decided I was surplus to requirements and dumped me. I've got over 15 years experience in IT (Operations starting when computers really were computers instead of these stupid little cabinets where the normal "fix" is just to switch off and back on again, and Desktop Support for sites with over 1000 users) but I can't get a job as I live on the south coast and it is obviously impossible for me to actually get into London (which is where many of the jobs are) - everything seems fine until they (the HR people and the Management) ask where I live and then it's like "Oh, okay, we'll get back to you."... only they never do.

    Given the choice, I'd rather sit on a train for nearly five hours a day and do an honest days' work than sit on my fat ar*e claiming benefits. The few IT jobs that come up down here don't pay enough to live on - especially with the onset of the "credit crunch" - so London is basically the only option for me.

    It's more to do with making the Government look like they are Doing Something about preserving British skills and people since they cannot stop the influx of people from within the EU - but given how many people have been laid off by CSC, EDS, Fujitsu, IBM etc over the last few years (all "low-level" technical staff - programmers and network, user and server support types in particular), if HMG tried to let more IT techy-types in, there would be an outrage. Well, a few tears would be shed and there'd be much wailing and nashing of teeth, but it would still be a few more people NOT voting for Labour come the Election.

    And as far as I can see, Scotland is trying to secede from the UK. The only reason they haven't cut all ties is because our wonderful Westminster overlords keep sending so much money home^H^H^H north of the border (ever noticed how many Cabinet ministers are Scottish?) - hospital parking near me is £1 for 30 minutes and £1 per additonal hour, I know people who can't get medicines they need as the local NHS Trust cannot afford it and kids round here are paying a fortune in college fees. Perhaps Gordon Broon should pay a few Polish builders to come over and rebuild Hadrian's Wall...

  56. Anonymous Coward

    UK and Scotland...

    The Americans have been making this mistake for years.. is the author American?

    Then again most Americans still use the term England when refering to Britain, which used to be a common term for the British as well in the age of the Empire, but shows their really not in touch with modern Britain or its people, then again geography was never their strong point. *lol* j/k

    *\. Mines the one with the Map of the United States of America and Iowa in the pocket.

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Geoff Mackenzie

    That's because money coming down from Scotland is so rare no-one's actually seen it.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?"

    Amstrad CPC 464 ... Still got it somewhere ... That scream of the tape deck as it loads that 5000 line program I copied line by line out of a magazine still haunts me now.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Still wont result anymore computing jobs

    The same prob will still apply, recruiters will still attach "5 to 15 years experience" to an entry level position ad. Then they will just bring someone in from Europe and then lobby for more Indian peninsula nationals to "fill the new skills shortage"

    Try applying for a job in England when you live in Scotland and mention you would be willing to re-locate (paid for by yourself)...the reply -> "you don't have x skill so we can't interview you" a skill not mentioned in the ad at all "oh well its not so important to have this skill if you live locally" - get lost you jock bast**d

    People wonder why a rising number of Scots want independence?

  60. chris

    If anyone actually cares about the real reason Scotland has different immigration criteria

    We have a declining population and different skill shortages to England. This has the fortunate side effect of reducing the numbers of xenophobic fuckwits whining about overcrowding and so we actually _want_ people to move here.

    You could probably say the same about Wales but a couple of years ago people got pissed off that the Westminster government was raiding and deporting people who'd grown up here because immigration rules were being defined by the Daily Mail via the Home Office. Cue large protests and disruption & occupation of Home Office buildings, followed by pressure on the (then) Labour Holyrood government to do something.

    No, you probably didn't hear much of it in London. Wouldn't want to give people ideas.

    What they (Labour in Scotland) then did was make hollow promises about ending dawn raids on families and win this small concession that Scottish needs should be taken into account when defining these kind of immigration hurdles.

    So we have rules that suit our circumstances rather than London's.

    Direct Action Gets Satisfaction, once again.

    (When will IT people realise that they've got the power to cause enough disruption to bring down governments and all the shitty bosses they've ever had to deal with? Much more satisfying than bitter rants against "fat chav scum" and "social parasites"...)

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC : Unemployment.

    >but I can't get a job as I live on the south coast and it is obviously

    >impossible for me to actually get into London

    I've moved house for every job I've had, try it, it's not so hard.

    Although I appreciate your dilemma, living on the coast would be nice, but they put all the IT jobs in weirdly crap locations like Reading or Slough. Why don't they set up along the coast or in the Lakes where we'd all love to move to?

  62. Anonymous Coward


    there are zero reasons to import i.t. people. i work with eastern europeans on a daily basis and have never seen any of them, just like i have never seen the guy who contracts from devon. can't think why we have not exported his job yet .... gives me something to aim for this afternoon i guess.

    doctors? there are many without jobs now! lower their salaries like any other occupation with too many bodies being supplied ...

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    right man for the job

    The group I'm with has a fine bunch of play it by the rules Swiss and German IT guys - great for a company in the over-legislated Pharma industry.

    But we do have one Russian FixIt, who knows how to crack windows, intranet, file systems, security,... to get a result - Hi Igor.

  64. KarlTh


    How does one move to London when the price of one's house anywhere else would buy a cardboard box in Peckham?

  65. Anonymous Coward

    pretend IT people - Ageist Pillock!

    > Sorry, but there should a certificate that you need to work in IT and in the middle should be the question: Which of these did you own as a kid: ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Sinclair Research 380 or WTF?

    Well, I guess that demonstrates that el Reg is not immune to publishing ageist nonsense provided by its readers.

    Would the idiot who made that suggestion care tell tell us which of those very recent machines was played with by any of the founders and developers of Information science, computer science, software engineering, or information technology? I mean people like Tom Kilburn, Alan Turing, Freddie Williams, Grace Hopper, Betty Holberton, Maurice Wilkes, John Backus, John McCarthy, Ralph Griswold, Chris Strachey, Ted Codd, Alain Colmeraur, Robin Milner, Chuck Moore, Charles Bachman, Claud Shannon, .Ralph Hartley, .... there are many more who were born too early to be kids when the machines you name were released - and some are still going strong. Indeed, if we take "kid" as meaning under 16, 43 years now (under 16 in 1981) is too old to have had any of those machines as a kid.

    Anyway, I'm not ashamed that the first computers I worked with with were FP Orion, IBM1620, Elliot 503, Atlas 1, Deuce , or that I worked with those machines a decade and a half before C.R. Evans wrote "The Mighty Micro" (and he died two years before any machine on your list was released).

    Since the ZX Spectrum is on your list, maybe you think Clive Sinclair had a toy computer when he was a kid? If so, I'm glad to disillusion you: he didn't.

    Maybe you think the youngsters in the Acorn Proton team played with toy computers when they were kids (for the youngsters on the team like Sophie Wilson and Steve Furber, that would be maybe seven or eight years before the Proton became the BBC Micro)? Well, if so: wrong again!.

    So take your crazy idea that no-one born before 1966 could imaginably be qualified to work in IT and stick it somewhere where the rest of us don't have to look at it.

  66. Ian

    intra-company transfers

    This whole debate is a big red herring. The points-based system does not apply to "intra company tranfers", which is where a company brings an employee from one country to work in another. For IT jobs there is no meaningful control on this, and the numbers of work permits (under the old system) for IT workers have been high and rising.

    In practice, this means the big corporations can use cheap labour to depress wages, while the government makes it hard for anyone not employed by such companies to travel here for work. Ordinary punters lose out whether from the UK or abroad.

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