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29 January 2020

Migration advisory committee recommends new salary threshold for skilled workers

The Migration Advisory Committee (or MAC) has published its report into the £30,000 salary threshold currently applicable to most non-EEA migrant workers, with the report suggesting some important changes on one hand, as well as, on the other, the continuation of many aspects of the current Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

The MAC has recommended that the government reduces the general salary threshold for skilled migrants applying from overseas to £25,600. The report recommends that those who do not have a job offer be subject to a revised points based system (akin to the current Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route), with potential candidates able to express an interest in coming to the UK to work, from which the government would then select those to whom a visa should be granted (on the basis of points categories).

The report has also recommended: a review of the need for the shortage occupation list (SOL) once the new immigration system is fully in place, as most of the benefits of it will disappear; applying the relevant salary thresholds across the UK rather than regionally; an immediate pause in the proposed increases to the settlement threshold; continued support for a separate pilot visa for ‘remote’ areas of the UK; a review of the requirements for settlement; and much better data for monitoring and evaluation, as there is a danger that the UK will fail to learn from past mistakes and will not know if any new system works.

The committee have stressed a renewed urgency to bring forward plans for a new post-Brexit immigration system, in order to give employers sufficient time to prepare, especially with the challenges Brexit will place upon UK businesses in the near future.

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