Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) publishes recommendations for post Brexit work immigration system

Posted on September 18, 2018

On 18 September 2018, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published their final report on current patters of EEA migration into the UK, and the impact of EEA migrants on our economy and society.  The report sets out their findings and makes recommendations for the government to consider when designing a future migration system for post Brexit Britain.

The key recommendations of the report are as follows:

  • No preferential treatment for EEA citizens as opposed to non-EEA migrants (unless this is specifically negotiated as part of the UK’s exit deal from the EU).
  • Easier access to the UK for higher-skilled workers than lower-skilled workers.
  • A reduction in the skills threshold for Tier 2 (General) so that it becomes open to all jobs at RQF level 3 and above. This recommendation reflects the fact that if free movement of workers ends, we may face shortages in certain lower skilled roles.  The shortage occupation list is to be reviewed.
  • Maintenance of the current salary thresholds under Tier 2 (General). The current salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) is £30,000 gross a year, save for certain new entrants, where a lower threshold applies.  That threshold is also subject to the relevant salaries specified for particular job codes in the Home Offices Codes of Practice, which are often higher.
  • Retention, but a review of the level of the Immigration Skills Charge. This is currently set at £1,000 per year per worker for a medium sized or large sponsor.
  • Abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) under which employers are required to advertise a job to the settled workforce for four weeks before they can sponsor a skilled migrant.  This is an onerous requirement for employers and its abolitions would be a significant change to migration rules in the UK.  As an alternative MAC have suggested that exemptions to the RLMT be expanded.
  • Abolition of the current annual cap (20,700)  on visas under Tier 2 (General).  The cap was introduced to set a limit on the number of new hires for skilled worked coming into the UK from outside the EEA.
  • Improvements to system to enable migrants to more easily move between employers.

The report is an interesting insight into how immigration may evolve in the UK, although the true shape of the future will depend upon the outcome of the UK’s Brexit negotiations.

For the full report please see here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/migration-advisory-committee-mac-report-eea-migration