Pay threshold best way to decide if worker can stay in UK: MAC

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended minimum annual pay is the best way to select which highly skilled migrant workers should be eligible for settlement.

The MAC has recommended:

A simple pay threshold be used to decide eligibility for automatic settlement among Tier 2 (general) migrants; migrants entering through the Tier 1 (exceptional talent) route to proceed to settlement after five years subject to continuing to meet the criteria for that route; a pay threshold between £31,000 and £49,000 for Tier 2 (general), set at the time of entry and adjusted for inflation or changes to average pay, would be economically defensible.

The other recommendations are: Sportspeople should also be subject to the same pay criteria as other migrants under Tier 2 (general); and government and businesses should work together to up-skill the UK labour market to mitigate the impact of restricting settlement rights.

Professor David Metcalf CBE, Chairman of the MAC, said: 'After extensive consultation the MAC has recommended a pay threshold as the best way to decide if a worker can stay in the UK. This is based on sound economic theory.

'Imposing greater controls on settlement may mean that the annual limit on entry into Tier 1 and Tier 2 would not need to be reduced as much as it would otherwise to meet the government's objective of reduced net migration.'

The UK Border Agency added: `A number of changes have already been made to the Tier 2 migrant workers route by the government which are likely to see the number of settlement applications fall. Therefore, a 'do nothing' option is defensible but, equally, the MAC believes the government's intention to control settlement numbers is legitimate.

`The effects of any change will not be fully felt until 2016. This will allow time for employers and government to work together to up-skill the UK workforce in those occupations most affected’.


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