Six crucial racing-related roles added to Government’s new Immigration Salary List

18 Mar 2024 BHA Features Financial/Political

British racing has welcomed the decision by the Government to add six crucial racing-related roles to the new Immigration Salary List (ISL).

The ISL, which has replaced the former Shortage Occupation List, now includes racing grooms, work riders, stallion handlers, stud grooms, stud hands and stud handlers.

The Government’s decision makes it easier for training yards and studs to recruit workers from abroad into these roles, helping to plug the current shortfall of 2,000-2,500 staff in the industry. This is a significant win for the racing and breeding industry and will provide a boost to Britain’s rural economy and the sport as we look to continue to grow it.

In its submission to the Migration Advisory Committee last year, British racing made clear it recognised the addition of the roles to the ISL was a short-term fix for a longer-term issue.

It is vital that the industry continues to invest in and develop the recruitment and training of domestic employees to ensure the long-term stability of staffing. Recruiting high-skilled workers from overseas can help increase our training capacity to create the next generation of top-performing recruits.

The addition of the high-skills roles to the ISL also enables training yards and studs to employ overseas workers on a minimum salary of £30,960 – a salary discount on the £38,700 minimum that applies to other businesses under the Government’s immigration rules. This makes recruiting some of the best overseas talent a more realistic option for the sport.

The new roles will still need to meet existing criteria and businesses should be aware of the other requirements under the Government’s points-based immigration system post-Brexit, including mandatory requirements for overseas employees to have received a firm job offer and speak English to the required level.

The BHA will now work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that businesses in these sectors receive the latest advice on the employment of overseas workers following this much needed change.

Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority said:

“The fact that the six racing and breeding roles are part of only a very small number of jobs transferred from the old Shortage Occupation List to the to the Immigration Salary List shows the Government recognises how crucial they are to Britain’s rural economy.

“Bringing in world-class talent from overseas is not a sticking-plaster solution to our recruitment crisis. They are part of the answer by providing us with unrivalled experience to help train our next generation of high-skilled workers.

“It is essential that racing now takes the opportunity to make the most of our access to the best international talent, which will enable us to put in place long-term solutions to racing’s staffing shortage.”

Paul Johnson, Chief Executive of the National Trainers Federation said:

“The inclusion of racing roles on the Immigration Salary List is the culmination of a lengthy process that racing has engaged in throughout.  We are very appreciative that the challenges our members face in staffing their businesses have been recognised and acted upon by government and see this as providing much needed help whilst the industry develops a long-term term plan for our workforce.”

Claire Sheppard, Chief Executive of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association said:

“The TBA welcomes the decision by the Government for three vital equine care roles in British thoroughbred stud farms to have now been officially added to the Immigration Salary List.

“These specialist and skilled positions are vital in enabling studs to continue to deliver world leading health and welfare standards and produce racehorses that excel on the global stage, supporting employment and businesses across the rural economy and underpinning the racing industry’s £4.1 billion annual economic impact.

“Whilst the new salary criteria will limit the numbers and roles employed, the opportunity to recruit these internationally skilled individuals from overseas will benefit British breeding operations through the sharing of knowledge and expertise with the domestic workforce.”

Notes to editors:

The six roles added to the new Immigration Salary List are:

  • Racing grooms
  • Work riders
  • Stallion handlers
  • Stud grooms
  • Stud hands
  • Stud handlers.

More information on the Government’s points-based immigration system can be found here.

The outcome of the Migration Advisory Committee’s rapid review of the Immigration Salary List, which was published last month and recommended that these roles be added to the list, can be found here.