Delight after vets reinstated to shortage occupation list

Vets’ groups say they are delighted with the government’s decision to reinstate the veterinary profession to a list of shortage occupations.

The Home Office has announced that it has accepted recommendations from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) that vets be reinstated to the shortage occupation list.

Industry leaders have been calling for urgent action to address the likelihood of a serious shortfall of vets after the UK leaves the EU, especially in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

See also: Vets reassured about local anaesthetic shortage

The British Veterinary Association (BVA), which represents more than 18,000 veterinary professionals in the UK, says nearly half of all vets registering to work here every year come from the EU.

And 95% of official veterinarians (OVs) working in abattoirs come from overseas, mainly the EU. 

The BVA has also raised concerns that demand for veterinary certification and health testing services could increase dramatically in the event of a no-deal Brexit, placing significant pressures on the workforce.

In theory, having vets on the list should exempt employers from having to carry out a resident labour market test when employing a vet from overseas. It also grants exemption from the £35,000 minimum earnings threshold and incurs lower visa fees.

Animal welfare benefits

BVA president Simon Doherty said: “We are absolutely delighted by the government’s decision to heed our calls to reinstate vets to the Shortage Occupation List.

“This is a huge win for animal welfare and a resounding vote of confidence in the veterinary community and the multiple benefits it realises across the UK.”

Niall Connell, president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), added: “Boris Johnson pledged on the steps of Downing Street to do more to promote the welfare of animals.

“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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