The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recently published its recommendations to reform the skilled worker route to the UK for non-EEA nationals.

In the summer of 2015 the Government requested that MAC undertake a review of Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) (ICT) with a view to substantially restricting immigration under this route. Tier 2 is the primary route for migration to the UK. Migrants can enter the UK under Tier 2 where they have an offer of employment from a UK company with a Tier 2 sponsor licence.

MAC has made a number of key recommendations which include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) migrants of £30,000;
  • An Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per year per Tier 2 migrant;
  • An increase in the qualifying employment period from 12 months to two years for the Tier 2 (ICT) route;
  • A more detailed job description on the Certificate of Sponsorship;
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge for Tier 2 (ICT); and
  • A new Tier 2 (ICT) for those carrying out work on-site for third parties with a minimum salary threshold of £41,500.

Although the government is not obliged to follow such recommendations, historically the majority of changes proposed by MAC have been implemented. If the recommendations are implemented, the cost of sponsoring non-EEA nationals to work in the UK may be significantly increased. The changes are likely to have far reaching effects on small employers and specifically those who employ professionals in social care and medical sectors.

The government will consider the MAC report in light of the Immigration Rules which are due to come into force on 6 April 2016. Although the proposed amendments are unlikely to be approved by then, it's anticipated that we will see some changes by the end of the year.

© MacRoberts 2016


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