MAC’s initial review on minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 General migrants

In early June 2015, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was commissioned to review the Tier 2 Scheme to address the Government’s concerns about the rising number of migrants entering the UK under this route of the Point Based System. As the result, on 13 of August 2015 the MAC released a report on the salary thresholds, which is due to be completed in December 2015.

This report focuses on the impact of:

1) increasing the minimum salary threshold currently set at £20,800 for the Tier 2 (General) visa category, £24,800 for the short-term category of the Tier 2 (ICT) short-term staff and £41,500 for the long-terms staff under the Tier 2 (ICT) long term staff visa category;

2) increasing the Tier 2 minimum salary per occupation for experienced workers by 25% to 50/75%;

3) increasing the minimum salary for new entrant workers under the Tier 2 visa category by 10% to 25% or 50%.

The Chair of the MAC, Professor Sir David Metcalf CBE confirmed that the MAC “has urged the UK government to be cautious in making any significant changes to the salary threshold at this stage because they should be considered in isolation”. However, MAC concluded, that the prospective changes to the minimum threshold for Tier 2 General migrants could be a good idea as the amount of £20,800 was calculated in 2009 when the skill requirements for migrant workers was much lower than the current ones.

The report also suggests that further work needs to be done on the impact of the Tier 2 (General)’s monthly limit being reached in June and July 2015, particularly given that the applications for restricted COS certificates for lower-paying occupations, which are not on the Shortage Occupation List are at greater risk of being refused. The MAC believes that the UK government should review some occupations such as those in healthcare and graduate recruitment schemes, separately from the Tier 2 limit in order to address these issues in the short-run.

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