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Immigration – “Raising the bar”?

In the Government’s continuing quest to drive down net migration into the “tens of thousands” the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct a review of the Tier 2 route. This is the route through which employer sponsors are able to bring skilled non-European Economic Area migrants (together with any dependents) to live and work in the UK.

This follows on from MAC’s recent call for evidence on the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route, the responses to which it is presently analysing.

The latest commission is split into two parts:

Part One

Early advice on Tier 2 salary thresholds by 21 July 2015, which is now underway. In summary under Part One MAC is requesting evidence and comments in respect of increasing the minimum salary thresholds for Tier 2 migrants being:

1. Increasing the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold of £20,800 and the Tier 2 (ICT) minimum salary thresholds of £24,800 for the short-term category and £41,500 for the long-term category.

2. Increasing the Tier 2 minimum salaries per occupation for both “entrant” and “experienced” workers.

Part Two

A wider review of the Tier 2 routes by mid-December 2015, with calls for evidence scheduled for late June/early July. Issues for consideration here will include: consideration of further limiting Tier 2 visas to skills shortages and highly specialist experts only; requiring payment of the Health Surcharge for Intra-Company Transfer visa applicants, and restricting the present automatic right of Tier 2 dependents to work.

The call for evidence sets out the questions on which the MAC seeks views with the closing date for responses to be received by 12:00 midnight, Friday 3 July 2015.

Given the recent furor in the media regarding migrant nurses being unable to remain in the UK after 6 years if unable to meet the £35,000 salary requirement for settlement, and the fact that last month the visa quota for “restricted” Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship was oversubscribed resulting in only those with guaranteed earnings of £46,000 or more being successful, the responses, report and recommendations should certainly make interesting reading!

Other blogs of interest:

How to save £20,000 per employee – our top 10 tips regarding “Right to Work Checks”

Biometric Residence Permits

“Health surcharge” – the increasing cost of a visa

Keep up to date and follow us: @DWF_Employment

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Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further