RCVS President Niall Connell saidThe Government has announced that it has accepted the recommendation of the Migration Advisory Committee that veterinary surgeons should be added to the Shortage Occupation List.

The announcement came in the form of a written statement by the then Home Secretary Sajid Javid to the House of Commons on 23rd July, which said: "The Government is happy to accept all of the MAC’s recommendations on the composition of the SOL and the necessary amendments will be made in the Autumn Immigration Rules changes."

Being on the shortage occupation list means that employers do not need to advertise jobs for veterinary surgeons in the UK for 28 days before advertising abroad (the Resident Labour Market Test). In addition, there are lower visa fees and it provides exemption from the minimum income threshold. 

RCVS President Niall Connell said: "Both the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and the British Veterinary Association worked together to ensure this outcome, which will see a lowering of the immigration barriers, for example, in terms of visa requirements, for overseas veterinary surgeons who wish to live and work in the UK.

"We also considered this a vital piece of preparation for the UK leaving the EU, as around half of those registering as veterinary surgeons with the RCVS in a given year are non-UK EU nationals and we would not want to see this vital supply of veterinary talent immediately dry up should ‘freedom of movement’ end when the UK leaves the EU.

"We thank Mr Javid for accepting the Committee’s proposals and congratulate his successor Priti Patel on her appointment and look forward to the decision being implemented. The new Prime Minister pledged on the steps of Downing Street to do more to promote the welfare of animals, and having veterinary surgeons on the Shortage Occupation List will help in our mission to uphold animal health and welfare and ensure that vital veterinary work can continue to get done, whatever happens with the relationship between the UK and the EU."

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