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Tighten rules for non-EU skilled migrants, UK government advised

Britain has been advised to make it harder for companies to hire skilled workers from outside the European Union.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has proposed raising the overall minimum salary threshold from the current £20,800 to £30,000 in order to limit the numbers of Tier 2 migrants who come to fill skilled jobs in the UK.

Tier 2 is the primary route for economic migration to the UK. It consists of four routes: Tier 2 (General), Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer), Tier 2 (Minister of Religion) and Tier 2 (Sportsperson).

The advisers to the government said in a report published on 19th January 2016 that the government should introduce a phased increase in the salary threshold for all Tier 2 migrants.

As a way of limiting the number of Tier 2 migrants, the MAC proposed raising the overall minimum salary threshold from the current £20,800 to £30,000.

MAC strongly recommended the introduction of an Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) in order to reduce employers’ reliance on migrant workers and encourage them to invest in training UK employees.

The advisers to the government also recommended tightening the Intra-Company transfer route to prioritise highly specialist staff.

Professor Sir David Metcalf CBE, Chair of the MAC, said: “Skilled migrant workers make important contributions to boosting productivity and public finances, but this should be balanced against their potential impact on the welfare of existing UK residents.

“Raising the cost of employing skilled migrants via higher pay thresholds, and the introduction of an Immigration Skills Charge, should lead to a greater investment in UK employees and reduce the use of migrant labour.”

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