Destinations Magazine

A Note About Shortage Lists for Expats

By Ovid @OvidPerl
I finally got off my lazy tail and purchased The old links still work and will likely continue to work for a long time, but please update your bookmarks, RSS readers, whatever. Initially the was redirecting to, but for some reason, that stopped pretty quickly. I'll take a look when I can.

In the meantime, I had an interesting email exchange with someone hoping to move to Europe. In the process of explaining a few options to him, I realized that my previous mentions of "shortage occupation lists" didn't really do a good job of explaining what they are. Understanding them is very important to understanding how to get a job abroad.
Take the United Kingdom's National Shortage Occupation List. It lists a huge number of jobs for which there is a labor shortage in the UK. And while I didn't mention the term, yesterday's discussion of Australia's skilled labor shortage deals with jobs that Australia needs filled. So what do these "shortage" occupations mean for the job seeker?

A Note About Shortage Lists for Expats

Gratuitous picture of our beautiful daughter

The basic process of getting a job in a foreign country usually entails the employer having to demonstrate that they could not find a suitable worker domestically. This can easily mean advertising for months for a job they need filled yesterday. This can mean showing their applicant's CVs, if any, to the government and justifying why they didn't hire any of them.
A shortage list (under whatever name a country wishes to call that) generally means the company can skip the justification of not hiring a local worker. The government already acknowledges the problem, so they make it easier for the employer.
So what does this mean to you, the job seeker in exotic lands? Even though your chosen profession is not on the shortage list for your country of choice, you can probably still get work there. The shortage list is not an exclusive list. For most countries, if a business can't hire locally, they're still going to let that business hire a foreigner. Your job is to convince them that you're the foreigner they can't do without.
So go back to Part 1 of my 5 part "get a work permit" series and get busy!

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