Migration Advisory Committee releases Tier 2 report

The Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”) has today indicated that the UK government should be cautious about rushing to raise the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 migrants before the MAC has had a chance to complete its wider review of the Tier 2 route later in the year.

The MAC’s report, entitled “Review of Tier 2: An analysis of salary thresholds“, confirms its preference for using occupation-specific salary thresholds, but does not at this stage recommend a minimum salary threshold for individual roles. It has, however, stated that there are good grounds for increasing the current £20,800 minimum Tier 2 (General) threshold.

The MAC was commissioned by the government in June 2015 to carry out a review of Tier 2 of the Points-Based System. This review has been split into two parts, the first part being the recommendations published today with wider recommendations expected to be issued at the end of this year.

The initial analysis carried out by the MAC has revealed that there is little evidence to suggest widespread undercutting of UK resident workers by Tier 2 migrants. The MAC will go on to consider whether there is a need for variations in regional pay, but it has indicated that, to date, it sees no major regional variations that require urgent attention.

Chair of the MAC, Professor Sir David Metcalf CBE, said: “The MAC’s focus in this report is on analysis rather than recommendations. We have examined the evidence concerning the possibility that migrants undercut British residents and we set out the possible reduction in skilled migrant inflows if the pay thresholds were raised from current levels. We urge the government to be cautious in making any significant changes to the salary thresholds at this stage because they should not be considered in isolation. Salary thresholds are closely linked with other issues the government has asked the MAC to consider in its wider review, including proposals for an immigration skills charge on migrant workers. Our recommendations on the Tier 2 route will be published after we have examined in full the extensive evidence of the impact of raising pay thresholds on particular companies and organisations“.

The MAC has also indicated that, as the Tier 2 (General) monthly Certificate of Sponsorship allocation limit were met in both June and July this year, there is a need to consider the impact of this limit.