But dismay at removal of M&E from list of sectors in which migrants allowed to fill skills gap

The Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) has welcomed the addition of engineering to the list of occupations in which migrant workers are permitted to fill a UK skills gap.

Engineering was one of limited additions made to the revised list after a panel of experts was asked by ministers to identify sectors with skills shortages.

However, the ACE is “dismayed” that M&E engineering has been removed from the list, which forms part of the new points-based migration system.

It said that the government needed to do much more to secure the engineering skills the nation needs, especially in the energy sector.

Nelson Ogunshakin, ACE chief executive, said: “We are pleased with the progressive action taken by the Migration Advisory Committee,” but added: “We are extremely disappointed and dismayed that the government has decided against including mechanical and electrical engineering professions on the list - skills that were on the June 2008 list but have now been removed.”

Citizens from EU states, excluding Bulgaria and Romania, can work in the UK without restrictions but unskilled workers from other parts of the world are banned.

The list is expected to come into force at the end of November, and will make it harder to employ skilled workers from outside the EU in trades not on the list.

An all-party group of MPs called for “balanced migration” on Sunday, as well as four-year limits on foreign workers' stay in the UK.

The group said that Britain would be unable to cope with the estimated 7 million extra migrants forecast to arrive by 2031.