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New salary thresholds | New Minimum Salary For Tier 2

In today’s blogpost we will look at the MAC report on proposed changes to the minumum salary requirements for migrants on a Tier 2 General visa. On the 13th of August, the Migration Advisory Council (MAC) published its Review of Tier 2: Analysis of Salary Threshold. The review warned that the UK Government needs to rethink their proposed plan to raise the minimum salary requirements for Tier 2 skilled migrant workers.

Migration Advisory Commitee to Analyse Proposed Tier 2 Salary Threshold Increases

On the 10th of June the Home Office commissioned the MAC to create a report on the amount of migrants who work in the UK through the Tier 2 visa route. The government’s reasoning behind the report was to analyse the economic justification and the impact that the net migration of workers on Tier 2 visas have on the UK labour force. The findings would then be used to consider creating a new minimum salary to ensure that Tier 2 migrants are not undercutting the UK’s own labour force. In the report, the MAC have been asked to consider the impact of the following:

  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) minimum salary threshold of £20,800 and the Tier 2 (ICT) minimum salary thresholds of £24,800 for the short-term category and £41,500 for the long-term category to a level that better aligns with the salaries paid to highly-specialised experts or individuals filling skills shortages skilled to NQF level 6 or higher;
  • Increasing the Tier 2 minimum salaries per occupation for experienced workers from the 25th percentile to the 50th or 75th percentiles; and
  • Increasing the Tier 2 minimum salaries per occupation for new entrant workers from the 10th percentile to the 25th or 50th percentiles.

In their early advice, the Committee has urged the UK Government to be cautious over any early decision to raise the minimum salary requirements for skilled migrant workers until the MAC’s full review of the Tier 2 visa is published in December this year. The MAC  goes on to say in its report that occupation-specific salary thresholds should still exist, but (at the moment) hasn’t made any specific recommendations as to minimum salary thresholds for individual jobs. Overall, the MAC believe that is makes sense to increase the minimal salary threshold for worker’s on Tier 2 General visas, the salary was originally decided in 2009 when the skill requirements for workers were lower than now.

However, the Deputy Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry, Katja Hall argues that the proposed rise in salary thresholds could potentially have a negative effective on the UK and warned against knee jerk implementation of a threshold that could damage the UK economy.

Skilled migrants bring huge benefits to the UK, making sure businesses have access to the specialist expertise they need to succeed, helping the economy to grow. That’s why it’s right that the Migration Advisory Committee is arguing against any hasty decisions and urging caution on raising salary thresholds for skilled migrant workers. It’s also noteworthy that the committee found little evidence to support the misplaced view that skilled migrants undercut the wages of UK resident workers. We hope the Government now heeds the advice of its own experts to ensure the UK remains a great place to invest, do business and create jobs.

However, according to the Home Office statistics for the first quarter of 2015 (compared to the first quarter of 2014) the number of non-EU workers only increased by around 1% or by 11,000.  The increase in EU workers working in the UK increased dramatically by up 283,000 or 17.4%. The Home Office concludes that “The total growth in employment over the last year was 576,000, and around half (48.7%) of this growth can be accounted for by UK nationals”

Therefore, looking at the statistics, if the government are trying to control migration to the UK would there be any real impact on overall migration when Tier 2 workers migrating to the UK is a small percentage of overall migration to the UK. What do you think? Would raising the salary threshold for Tier 2 Workers really make a difference?

Westkin Associates


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