The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its final report on the current and likely future patterns of EEA migration and the impacts of that migration on the UK.
The report contains the following 14 key recommendations proposed by the MAC (taken from the report summary) which, if implemented, will amount to the biggest ever overhaul of the UK’s work-related immigration system:
- the general principle behind migration policy changes should be to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to migrate to the UK than lower-skilled workers;
- there should be no preference for EU citizens, on the assumption that UK immigration policy is not included in an agreement with the EU;
- the cap on the number of migrants under Tier 2 (General) should be abolished;
- Tier 2 (General) should be open to all jobs at RQF3 and above. The Shortage Occupation List is to be fully reviewed in the MAC’s next report in response to the SOL Commission;
- existing salary thresholds for all migrants in Tier 2 should be maintained;
- the Immigration Skills Charge should be maintained but reviewed;
- consideration should be given to the abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test. If it is not abolished, the numbers of migrants who are exempt should be extended through lowering the salary required for exemption;
- there should be a review of how the current sponsor licensing system works for small and medium-sized businesses;
- users of the visa system should be consulted more systematically to ensure it works as smoothly as possible;
- sector-based schemes should be avoided for lower-skilled workers (with the potential exception of a seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS));
- if a SAWS scheme is reintroduced, upward pressure on wages should be ensured via an agricultural minimum wage to encourage increases in productivity.
- if a “backstop” is considered necessary to fill low-skilled roles, the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme should be extended;
- the impact of migration policies should be monitored and evaluated;
- more attention should be paid to managing the consequences of migration at a local level.
If implemented, the MAC’s recommendations will potentially impose significant immigration related administrative burdens on vast numbers of employers that are not currently engaged with the immigration system.
This latest report follows the MAC’s recent report into international student migration.
Carter Thomas founder, Nichola Carter, has focused on some of the administrative burdens that employers could face in her blog on the Free Movement website.
The MAC’s recommendations relate to a new work-related immigration system to be rolled-out after the UK has left the EU and after any implementation period. The government will take the MAC’s recommendations into consideration but is not bound to follow them. The final system could be very different to that proposed by the MAC.
We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates.