Last week, the Prime Minister announced that the Migration Advisory Committee will consider new measures to reduce demand for migrant labour.
What does this mean for the UK?
The Prime Minister confirmed that the Home Secretary has written to the Migration Advisory Committee asking it to revise on reducing work migration from outside the European Union, but ensuring that Britain is open to the best talent which will help the country succeed.
The Migration Advisory Committee will review how the Tier 2 (Skilled Worker) visa system functions. This follows the first meeting of the Prime Minister’s newly-formed Immigration Taskforce, which has been tasked with reducing net migration and focusing on the domestic measures that the government can take to achieve this.
Why is this change being made?
It is the Government’s view that reductions in migrant labour are being made to ensure British citizens have a fair opportunity to apply for jobs which do not need to be filled by migrant workers. They feel at present UK businesses are finding it too easy to recruit from overseas for roles which can be filled by resident workers.
This work builds on the measures already taken by the government to reduce the demand for migrant labour, namely: creating 2 million more apprenticeships, introducing radical welfare reform and establishing a system where it pays to work.
What will the Migration Advisory Committee be advising on?
The Migration Advisory Committee will consult and advise on the following:
• Options to re-focus the route on areas where there are genuine skills shortages or require highly-specialised experts
• How to limit the time that sectors are deemed to be in shortage
• The implementation of a levy on Tier 2 visas, to fund apprenticeships for young British workers
• restrictions on the automatic right of Tier 2 dependants to work
• Tightening up on the Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) route, including applying the Immigration Health Surcharge to ICTs
• Raising the minimum salary levels that economic migrants have to be paid
When will these changes come in to affect?
Whilst the bulk of the Committee’s proposals will be delivered by the end of the year, the Home Secretary has asked to fast track proposals on raising the salary thresholds of Tier 2 visas in time for the Autumn Immigration Rule changes.
Which sectors will be affected by this change?
This change will apply to all sectors. The Government’s main thought process behind this is to restrict work visas to sectors which have genuine skills shortages and require highly specialist experts. This is what the Migration Advisory Committee will be scrutinising.
The Prime Minister told MPs that the renewed drive to reduce British business demand for skilled migrant labour was a crucial part of the government’s plan to cut net migration.
This month saw a number of sponsors have their requests for Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship requests rejected as the annual cap on skilled migrants was not raised beyond 20,700.
Anyone who had their request denied in June 2015 will need to submit a fresh request in next month’s quota (July 2015), which must be submitted before 3rd July as the 5th is a Sunday.
Those who score a higher number of points are likely to have their request granted.
As with the quota this month it may be likely that anyone who offers a salary of less than £46,000 will see their request being denied.
Applications for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship will score points as follows:
Route: Shortage Occupation
Route: PhD Level Posting & Resident Labour Market Test
Route: Resident Labour Market Test
Salary Thresholds and Points
£20,800 – £20,999 (2 pts)
£21,000 – £21,999 (3 pts)
£22,000 – £22,999 (4 pts)
£23,000 – £23,999 (5 pts)
£24,000 – £24,999 (6 pts)
£25,000 – £25,999 (7 pts)
£26,000 – £26,999 (8 pts)
£27,000 – £27,999 (9 pts)
£28,000 – £31,999 (10 pts)
£32,000 – £45,999 (15 pts)
£46,000 – £74,999 (20 pts)
£75,000 – £99,999 (25 pts)
£100,000 – £149,999 (30 pts)
This basically means that the lower the salary on offer to migrants, the higher the chances of the Home Office denying their request for a Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship.
It seems the chances of the government upholding the current Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship cap becomes more concerning.
Enforcing the cap will cause damage to a lot of businesses and jeopardise plans for employers who have already identified suitable migrants to fill positions, as well as completed the Resident Labour Market Test.
At least, we can be grateful the cap does not apply to anyone applying under the Intra-Company transfer route or high earners.
The fact that the cap has been reached for the first time ever shows the economy is growing and rejecting the majority of requests for Restricted Certificates of Sponsorship will have an impact on this.
If you have any views you would like to share with us on how this affects your business contact us; we are very interested to hear your views.