The Migration Advisory Committee proposes changes to Tier 2 of the points based system

21 January 2016

On 19 January the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its recommendations to tighten the skilled worker routes to reduce non-EEA migration. The MAC is an independent non-statutory, non-time limited, non-departmental public body that advises the UK Government on migration issues.

It is important to note that, while the UK Government is not obliged to implement all of the MAC’s recommendations, historically, it has implemented the majority of changes proposed by the MAC. Consequently, these recommendations are highly indicative of the future shape of the Tier 2 system.

The key recommendations made by the MAC are:

  • The minimum salary thresholds for Tier 2 (General) and Short Term Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) (ICT) migrants should be increased to £30,000 for experienced workers and £23,000 for new entrants.
    An Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) should apply to every employer recruiting migrants under Tier 2. This should be set at £1,000 per year per Tier 2 migrant.
    The qualifying employment period for the Tier 2 (ICT) route should be increased to two years.
  • Sponsors should be required to enter a more detailed job description on the Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Tier 2 (ICT) migrants should be subject to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS).
  • HMRC and the Home Office should work together to consider whether the current tax provisions for allowances and the exemption of national insurance contributions are working in the interests of the UK.
  • A new Tier 2 (ICT) should route be created, designed specifically for those carrying out work on-site for third parties, with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.
  • Tier 2 (General) recruitment should not be limited to job titles on an expanded shortage occupation list.
  • Retain the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) route but with improvements.
    To make the Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship (RCoS) allocation process fairer, £7,000 should be added to the salary for graduates recruited onto graduate schemes.
  • The current RLMT exemption for those switching in-country from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General) should be removed.
    The current limit for Tier 2 (General) should be extended to all Tier 2 (General) categories and increased by a corresponding amount.
  • The automatic right to work for Tier 2 dependants should not be restricted.