The influential Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its long-awaited report on how the UK’s immigration system should change post Brexit. The report advises that a points-based system should be established for skilled workers who already have a job offer and recommends changes to Tier 2 (General) visas.
The government should decide which “attributes” are awarded points, with the MAC proposing that the priorities should be a migrant’s qualifications, understanding of English, age, knowledge of STEM subjects or creative skills and whether the migrant studied in the UK.
In relation to changes to Tier 2 (General) visas, the MAC recommends that Tier 2 should remain an employer-sponsored route, although with a lower general salary threshold of £25,600 (down from £30,000). This is because the report advises broadening the jobs eligible for a Tier 2 (General) visa to include “medium skill occupations”.
It also recommends that the same salary thresholds should be implemented across the UK, rather than varying salary thresholds by region, but does say that a separate visa would help in areas of “particular weakness.”
The MAC also asks for an “immediate pause” in planned increases to the settlement income threshold and an evaluation of the conditions for the settlement.
It also calls for a revision of the shortage occupation list (SOL) after the new immigration system is operational.
The MAC also says that the current Tier 1 visa “does not work well”, explaining that:
“The skills bar for entry is set too high, targeted at those at the very top of their field, and is too risk averse…the numbers admitted fall far short of the cap.”
The report recommends an alternative, whereby the government should pool migrants who secure a high score on a points system, from which there is a monthly draw, with a limit on the total number allowed into the UK each month.
Chris Brazier, employment and business immigration partner comments:
“This report will undoubtedly influence the government’s forthcoming immigration bill in March, so huge changes could be afoot to our immigration system. We will keep fully abreast of any changes as they happen, can advise on how new rules could affect businesses and individuals and would urge people to get in touch if they have any concerns.”
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