Earlier this week, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), a UK Government Public Body published its review of the Tier 2 route of the Points Based System (PBS) and made recommendations with a view to restrict the number of skilled workers coming to the UK from outside the European economic area (EEA). These latest set of MAC proposals will be detrimental to many UK businesses as they increasingly rely on the skills of overseas workforce. A spokesman from MAC has stated that there is no schedule for the government to consider implementing its recommendations however the home office has reportedly thanked the committee and is said to be “considering” the outcome of its studies. We have outlined some of the new proposals below.
Proposed Changes to Tier 2 Visa Applications
These proposed changes come following the Home Office’s request in June last year for the MAC to conduct a wider review of the Tier 2 visa route. The UK government has pledged to bring down the number of migrants coming through a Tier 2 visa, and according to government figures, net migration stood at 336,000 for the year ending June 2015. The new migration proposals, are estimated to bring down Tier 2 visa migration by 20%. MAC’s key recommendations are as follows:
- Raising the overall minimum salary threshold to £30,000 for both Tier 2 (General) and short-term Tier 2 Intra-Company transfers (ICT).
- For new entrants within Tier 2 General and the Graduate Trainee route within Tier 2 ICT route the threshold would be raised to £23,000.
- To impose an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) of an extra £1,000 per Tier 2 migrant per year; and to introduce an NHS Surcharge for ICT’s.
- To extend the qualifying period of employment with an overseas company for Tier 2 ICT from 12 months to 2 years for the short-term and long-term routes.
- Further administrative burden with a proposal for more detailed job descriptions for Tier 2 ICT applications including skill requirements.
- That those looking to switch their visa to the Tier 2 route within the UK should be subject to the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and included in an expanded Tier 2 limit.
- A new Tier 2 ICT route for third-party contracting which includes raising the minimum earnings threshold to £41,500, will especially hit those hard that rely on overseas contracts, particularly the IT industry.
- Further, MAC is calling for a more in-depth review of skills shortages within the IT industry. They may recommend the use of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) to third-party contacting route and limit the proportion of Tier 2 migrants to each organisation, which will significantly damage to the future talent available to UK tech organisations unless managed carefully.
- MAC also recommends that the Home Office and HMRC should look into the issue of allowances and payment of national insurance contributions.
Tier 2 migrants boost UK Economy
The Home Office proposals could have a significant impact on the UK economy as the points based system creates business opportunities for the UK. The Tiers 1, 2 and 4 Applicants who currently come to the UK are providing the UK economy with a boost. Obtaining a points based UK visa is far from a straightforward process involving referencing not only the immigration rules but also supplementary guidance notes. Together with ensuring that the bundle of supporting documents meets the Home Office’s changing requirements and properly evidences each application.
Adam Marshall, executive director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce has commented that:
“With businesses reporting severe recruitment difficulties, especially for highly-skilled and specialised positions, it makes no sense to slap new charges on firms that need to recruit from overseas – often because they are left with little alternative due to skills gaps here at home”
UK Immigration Advice for Tier 2 Visa Applicants
Our team of solicitors and barristers bear in mind the paramount duty of all legal representatives to act in your best interest whilst complying with the strict letter of the law. Our team of specialists can be distinguished from other law firms with our client tailored approach and scrutiny of options available to you from the outset. We will be able to advise you in respect of the continuous changes in the law as well as the merits of your application by providing you with advice from our leading team of solicitors and barristers before your matter even reaches the Home Office. If you require assistance with a Tier 2 visa application our team will guide you through the process of making an application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law. To contact one of our Immigration Solicitors or Immigration Barristers please complete our legal case assessment form and we will get in touch or call us now on 02071830570 for a telephone case assessment.