The long-awaited Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommendations on the review of Tier 2 applications has just been released and here are some crucial changes that are likely to take place.
The MAC have advised that a limit is placed on all Tier 2 employment by introducing a ‘price’ model. This means minimum salaries for Tier 2 ICT and Tier 2 General applications are increasing but specific job category pricing are not recommended for change just yet. Other ‘price’ introductions include:
- An Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) the level of which needs to be determined by the Government but is recommended to be in the region of an extra £1000 per Tier 2 migrant per year to impact employer behaviour and encourage upskilling / recruitment from the local labour market; and
- Introducing the NHS Surcharge for ICT’s;
- Investigating whether current NI contributions and tax on migrant worker allowances are working in the interest of the UK.
Another suggested change includes Tier 2 ICT’s, who under the proposals, will need to have at least 2 years of company experience overseas before qualifying for this route (up from one year currently).
The MAC have recommended that a much more detailed job description is included for Tier 2 ICT applications including skill requirements, thus, having the potential to affect thousands of employers.
The MAC have suggested that a new Tier 2 ICT route is introduced for third-party contracting (this will affect the IT industry). Minimum earnings threshold will be raised to £41,500 for all ICT routes under this new category, which is seen as an effective proxy for specialist and senior managers.
The MAC wishes to recommend a more in-depth review of skills shortages within the IT industry going forwards and may recommend the use of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) to the third-party contacting route and limiting the proportion of Tier 2 migrants to each organisation. This is a longer term view.
Tier 2 General route changes:
- The MAC have recommend temporary priority to lower paid public sector workers when current monthly quotas for Tier 2 General Restricted requests are hit;
- The MAC also recommend a Resident Labour Market Test – RLMT (advertising the vacancy for 28 days) for in-country switchers from other routes together with including them in an extended quota covering the whole of Tier 2 (General). Currently Tier 4 students switching to Tier 2 General in country are not subject to the RLMT.
For dependants of Tier 2 workers, there is no change recommended to current practice. They can continue to work.
Migrate UK comments that “businesses will now need to rethink their strategy for hiring Tier 2 employees beyond April 6th. We therefore recommend that any applications are submitted prior to April 6th, when the proposed changes are likely to take place. This could potentially save employers many thousands of pounds.”