Carmichael welcomes Migration Advisory Committee recognition of fishing deckhands as skilled workers


Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today welcomed news that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that fishing vessel deckhands be counted as “skilled workers” for the purposes of sponsorship under future immigration rules. The classification covers deckhands with three years’ experience, for fishing vessels over nine metres in length.

The Home Office will now need to consider the recommendations and finalise the Immigration Rules for skilled workers.

Mr Carmichael said:

“The Migration Advisory Committee has recognised what anyone with any familiarity with the fishing industry already knew – that deckhands are skilled workers with experience that cannot be easily replaced.

“The immigration system for deckhands was already letting the fishing industry down before Brexit. Now as fishermen expect expanded opportunities after December 31st the need for access to skilled crew will only get more urgent. It is vital that we keep developing homegrown talent as well but in the short term at least the fishing industry must be able to cast the net widely for skilled staff.”

He continued:

“This is only the first step. I urge the Home Office to confirm as soon as possible that they will include fishing deckhands under the skilled worker category. These changes could make an immediate positive impact for fishermen across the UK.”


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