Migration Advisory Committee: Tier 2 Review

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), who most recently published a report recommending changes for the Tier 1 (Investor) route, which was subsequently incorporated into the Immigration Rules (most notably increasing the level of investment from £1million to £2million), has been commissioned by the Government to review the Tier 2 route.

The Government has asked MAC ‘to advise on changes to Tier 2 to address concerns about the rising number of migrants in that route and reliance on them to fill shortages.’ As part of their ongoing review Law Firm Limited attended a MAC consultation at the Home Office this week, along with other legal representatives, businesses and government officials. The aim was to discuss the review and the current concerns with the Tier 2 route ahead of the deadline to submit evidence for the review by 25/09/2015.

The MAC Commission is split into two parts:

  1. Early advice on Tier 2 salary thresholds – this report should be published on 13/08/2015;
  2. Wider review of Tier 2 – this report should be published by mid-December 2015.

The Government has asked MAC to review the following:

  1. Restricting Tier 2 (General) recruitment, compared with the current rules, to genuine skills shortages and highly specialist experts only;
  2. How to limit the length of time occupations can be classed as having shortages;
  3. Applying a skills levy/charge to businesses recruiting from outside the EEA;
  4. The impact on Tier 2 numbers, the economy and the public finances, of restricting the automatic right of the dependents of Tier 2 visa holders to work on their Tier 2 dependent visa;
  5. The scope to tighten the Tier 2 (ICT) provisions and the impact this would have on business and the economy.

It is clear that the Government intends to reduce the number of Migrants entering the UK under the Tier 2 route and that its ultimate goal is that the British labour force would fill these positions. There were a number of concerns raised at the consultation, for instance the time it takes to train professionals and to acquire skills. The skills levy intends to finance apprenticeships in the UK, however this will take time and their skills would not always be at the graduate standard required under the Tier 2 route. It was also raised that some skills must come from abroad, for instance professors and lecturers from outside of the EEA, as educational institutions in the UK require the best skill set.

Law Firm Limited is in the process of preparing written evidence to be submitted to the MAC before the deadline of 25/09/2015. We will be raising our concerns about the importance of this route and the value that it brings to the UK and also our concerns if the route were to significantly reduced.