Migration Advisory Committee Publishes Report On EEA Migration

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the independent and non-departmental public body that advises the UK government on immigration issues, has today (18 September 2018) published its report on EEA immigration and Brexit.

After recognising that the general principle behind UK migration policy changes “should be to make it easier for higher-skilled workers to migrate to the UK than lower-skilled workers“, the MAC went on to make a number of “recommendations for work migration post-Brexit” to the UK government.

The specific MAC recommendation that will be particularly disappointing to EEA nationals is the recommendation that “no preference” should be given for EU citizens seeking to immigration to the UK post-Brexit. Having made this recommendation, the MAC goes on to recommend that the current cap on Tier 2 (General) work permits be abolished in order to permit greater skilled workers (irrespective of whether they are EEA or non-EEA nationals) to enter and work in the UK under domestic immigration laws after Brexit.

After making the above key general recommendations, the MAC goes on to more specific recommendation which includes (but not limited to) the following:

  • The minimum skills level for Tier 2 (General) work permits should be reduced from RQF6 (its current level for most jobs) to RQF3
  • ‘Shortage Occupation List’ should be fully reviewed in response to the SOL Commission.
  • The current salary thresholds for all migrants in Tier 2 be maintained.
  • Although the ‘Immigration Skills Charge’ should be retained, it should be reviewed.
  • Consideration should be given to either (a) abolishing the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ (the advertising process that UK employers have to currently undergo before they can recruit a non-EEA worker, or (b) at least extending the numbers of migrants who are exempt through lowering the salary required for exemption (currently set at well over £15,000).
  • The current sponsor licensing system for small and medium-sized businesses should be reviewed.
  • Users of the UK visa system should be consulted in a more systematic manner in order to ensure it works as smoothly as possible.
  • Sector-Based Schemes (with the potential exception of a Seasonal Agricultural Workers scheme) should be avoided for “lower-skilled workers”.

If you or your business will be affected by the MAC’s recommendations, or Brexit generally, contact us and speak to one of our immigration lawyers.