We’ve previously written about the impact of Brexit on the games industry and speculated that there may be some positive impact in relation to recruiting talent from across the globe. At last, we’ve had some clarification of some changes to the visa system to help Games companies.
Positive Steps forward for the Games Industry
On the 29th May, the Government Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommended some additions to the shortage occupation list (SOL) including job functions directly relevant to the Games Industry.
The SOL is an official list of occupations where there are not enough resident workers to fill vacancies and allows a faster and simplified route for companies to hire talent from outside the EEA and Switzerland, and post-Brexit all countries outside of the UK. Companies hiring from the SOL will benefit financially, as well as in various other ways:
- An exemption from the £35,000 minimum income threshold for settlement
- Lower visa fees
- Priority for visas if the annual cap is reached
- The ability to avoid conducting the Resident Labour Market Test (see the advice from Davidson Morris on the Labour Test here)
Hopefully allowing for a simplified process when hiring workers from abroad to work in the UK.
63% of the roles proposed by the industry through Ukie, are to be included
Ukie, who responded to the call to gather evidence, and presented feedback from 35 studios, states in this article that:
The MAC recommended the following industry relevant changes to the SOL that should be implemented “as soon as possible”.
- For all jobs in the IT business analysts, architects and systems code (2135) to be included on the list
- For all roles in the Web design and development code (2137) to make it onto the SOL
- For every role on the Artists code (3411) to be included as qualifying shortage occupations
- For the inclusion of a number of new roles within the Graphic Artists code (3421) including compositing artist, modeler and texture artist
The MAC recommendations also referred directly to seven of the eleven roles that the industry proposed through Ukie, ensuring that 63% of the roles suggested for inclusion by the industry were rolled into the code changes above.
So what's next for the Game's Industry workforce?
So……the government has made some positive first steps to broaden the SOL category allowing the Games Industry to recruit globally for headcount BUT there is one fundamental issue that remains and that is the speed of the process.
We know from experience that the timescales involved to vet and approve someone from outside the EEA can take weeks/months longer than hiring someone from inside the EEA. Timescales can slip and at times acceptance can feel uncertain for anyone going through the process. We are used to getting multiple offers for candidates in multiple countries across the EEA. As things stand the speed of relocation is the same for each country which means the playing field is level.
But whatever happens next, as it stands companies will still need to have a Sponsor Licence to hire from outside the UK and you should make sure you’re up to speed on what’s required there.
Will people want to work in the UK?
Post-Brexit candidates will be weighing up offers that could mean a quick move vs one to the UK that could take months and isn’t totally guaranteed. People are already nervous about it as our Games and Interactive Salary and Satisfaction Survey 2019 showed. 38% of people that don’t live in the UK and would have considered moving here previously, once we’ve left the EU, would not - broken down that’s 44% of people in Europe and 28% of people in North America.
So, there’s a job to be done! Offers will have to be accepted and visa’s attained before candidates are likely to resign. Potentially relocation packages will have to look a lot more attractive than previous. As things stand it seems costly and uncertain.
All the above assumes, of course, that the visa process remains the same as it is now. It needn’t be that way should the government invest enough to ensure the visa process is slick and pain-free and limited to weeks rather than months. For those outside the EEA, this is, of course, going to be beneficial and we welcome the changes the government has made but the industry needs further reassurance that the visa process keeps the UK competitive as a destination for those in the EEA.
We look forward to seeing what the next steps made will be… watch this space!
And if we’ve not totally put you off looking for a new job 😊 check out our latest roles in games and Interactive jobs across the world.