Migration Advisory Committee publishes final report on post-Brexit immigration

by | 24 Sep 2018

On 18 September 2018, the Migration Advisory Committee produced a final report assessing the impact of EEA migration and making recommendations post-BREXIT to benefit the resident UK labour force whilst recognising that the impacts will ‘vary across individuals, sectors and regions’.

This addresses the growing contradiction between the Government’s oft-stated ambition of reducing net migration down to the tens of thousands against the widely acknowledged skills gap which has been developing throughout large amounts of business sectors.

The report recommends that no special treatment should be given to EEA nationals by the immigration system, except that highly skilled professionals migrating to the UK should be encouraged, and the cap abolished restricting migration under Tier 2 (General).

There are winners and losers – and a dilemma for the Government.

The report recommends moving to a managed migration system reducing bureaucracy whilst still ensuring it is robust and remains fit for purpose.

Amongst the major recommendations are:

  • There will be no preferential access to EU citizens.
  • The immigration skills charge will be extended to cover EEA citizens and existing salary thresholds will be maintained.
  • There will be a less restrictive regime for highly skilled workers than for those lower skilled.
  • Beyond the possible of introduction of a season agricultural workers scheme there will be no access to lower skilled workers. Instead the use of an expanded youth mobility scheme is proposed.
  • The existing cap on the issue of restricted certificates of sponsorship under Tier 2 (General) of the points-based-system should be removed thereby removing uncertainty for employers due to monthly fluctuations.
  • The abolition the existing Resident Labour Market Test. It is felt that the more ‘robust’ approach to adherence to salary levels and the imposition of the immigration skills surcharge will be sufficient to protect the UK workforce.
  • Extending the threshold of those categories of occupations open to migrants to include those in ‘medium skilled jobs’ – to those positions within the RQF3 and above.
  • No changes are proposed to the existing intra-company transfer routes. This means that those holding these certificates of sponsorship will still not be able to apply for indefinite leave-to-remain and are subject to the relevant 12 month cooling-off period. However, given the potential abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test there is the option of instead coming to the UK under the Tier 2 (General) category – providing the salary is above £30,000pa – and therefore qualifying for indefinite leave-to-remain after five years.
  • The ability to change in-country to employments should be made easier.
  • The Home Office have stated that they will ‘consider these recommendations before setting out further details on the UK’s future immigration system’.

In summary there would be:

  • An end to the free movement of labour.
  • The policies would be the same for EU and non-EU citizens.
  • A reduction in bureaucracy for those wishing to employ those in medium and highly skilled occupations.
  • A restriction to those seeking entry to the UK in lower skilled occupations.
  • The salary thresholds currently in existence would be retained despite the expansion of qualifying occupations.
  • The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) will remain and be extended to EEA citizens.
  • A more robust approach to the salary thresholds and ISC are a more reliable method than the Resident Labour Market Test.
  • There will still be no regional variations although it is hoped the abolition of the Tier 2 cap will help some lower-wage regions – albeit existing salary thresholds remain.

We will be in touch again immediately this is released to give specific advice on what this will mean for your business.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.


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