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Migration Advisory Committee says Northern Ireland kneads more bakers

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The job needs to be made more attractive to local workers so employers do not rely on migrant workers to fill vacancies

The job needs to be made more attractive to local workers so employers do not rely on migrant workers to fill vacancies

The job needs to be made more attractive to local workers so employers do not rely on migrant workers to fill vacancies

Government advisers on migration have said that Northern Ireland needs more bakers.

And there are also shortages of fishmongers, housing officers and gardeners here, according to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The body, which briefs the Government on immigration, also said carers need to be paid more to avoid pressure being piled on the social care sector after freedom of movement ends.

The job needs to be made more attractive to local workers so employers do not rely on migrant workers to fill vacancies.

Amid the "high public concern" over health and social care during the coronavirus pandemic and the "dramatic" change in the jobs market, the MAC said visas for senior care workers and nursing assistants should be prioritised when the Brexit transition period ends.

The roles should be added to the shortage occupation list (SOL) - which helps migrants get work visas to fill jobs where there are shortages - to "relieve pressure when freedom of movements ends", the MAC report said, as it warned of the "stark consequences of low wages in social care".

Meanwhile, a shortage in butchers, bricklayers and welders, which has led to them also being recommended for the list, was branded "extraordinary".

Professor Brian Bell, chairman of the MAC, which was commissioned to provide independent, evidence-based advice on migration, called for better funding so higher wages could be paid instead of relying on "migrant workers to fill the gaps".

Comparing a £9.40 an hour shop floor wage at supermarket Aldi to £8.72 for "extraordinarily stressful and hard work" in health and social care, Prof Bell said: "You have to be well above that kind of level that Aldi's paying before you begin to attract workers." He added that this should be "comfortably above £10" to start making a difference.

As well as the UK-wide list, there are recommendations for the devolved nations to fill gaps in trades such as Gaelic teachers in secondary schools in Scotland.

Belfast Telegraph