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The Association of Translation Companies (ATC) has responded to the publication by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of its Full Review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). This follows on from lobbying that the ATC conducted earlier this year. [Read more here.]

Commenting on the report, the ATC’s Chief Executive Officer Raisa McNab said: “The ATC evidence fully justified its position to include LSPs as a needed occupation and we are, of course, disappointed not to have the MAC immediately adopt our recommendations, but we will continue to lobby for language service providers to be able to fulfil the needs of the British economy and public sector, which indicates that over two thirds of UK language service companies have already experienced difficulties recruiting suitable workers for translator and interpreter roles, and expect their recruitment challenges to accelerate post-Brexit.

“Much remains to be done to raise the profile of the language services industry in the UK, and its vital relationship with stakeholders in both public and private sectors, but it’s encouraging to see that the shape of a future UK immigration policy, and the Shortage Occupation List within it, is far from formalised, as indicated in MAC’s review.”

While recommending a number of new occupations to be added to the SOL, the MAC has not upheld the ATC’s call to include translators and interpreters in the shortage list at this moment in time.

Language services are critical for international trade as British exporters need a wide range of translation and interpreting services to bring their products and services to foreign markets successfully, essential for the UK’s competitiveness globally. According to the British Council, the ability to function in more than one language is increasingly being seen not just as enabling a basic transaction, but as a crucial component of a set of skills, attributes and knowledge required for success in the world today. Clearly, with a workforce of over 12,000 highly skilled people and a collective value of in excess of £1.2bn, the language services industry plays a significant role in the success of the UK economy.

In addition, with over 300 languages in use in the UK, the services of the UK’s 1,200 language service companies also ensure that the justice system, police and the National Health Service, among other statutory public services, have access to the information they need, when they need it, in whichever language they require.

“We also recognise the MAC’s consideration that a future immigration system may appear very different than its current presentation and as such, the ATC believes there is scope and reason to continue with our efforts to progress this further,” stated Raisa McNab.

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