MAC Immigration Report Suggests Lowering Skills and Salary Thresholds
A new report has advised the government not to implement a point-based immigration system, prompting a lukewarm reaction from the Home Office.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its immigration report today (28 January), rejecting an Australian-style points-based system in favour of lowering the existing salary and skills thresholds.
While it recommended the Tier 1 Exceptional Visa could be changed to use a points-based system, it recommended other visa types should remain in place.
The report comes amidst a time of flux for the UK immigration system and regular announcements of changes, the most recent being the government’s proposal to transform the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa to the Global Talent visa.
According to The Guardian, a government spokesperson said: “As the prime minister has been clear, we will introduce our points-based system from 2021.”
Immigration experts at national law firm Irwin Mitchell say the report is promising, but will never be taken seriously by government in the current political climate.
Expert Opinion“While we welcome the findings of the MAC’s report, which contains many positive recommendations, it is no surprise the government’s reaction has been lukewarm given these proposals could possibly lead to a sharp increase in medium-skilled workers.
“The last time the skills threshold was reduced to similar levels in the late nineties, it led to a near doubling of the amount of sponsored workers coming to the UK under the old immigration system. This is hardly what the new government will want to hear, given its stated intention to reduce immigration.
“Interestingly, the report suggested that a widened version of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, which yesterday the government announced would be changed to a global talent visa, should be the only type of visa using a points-based system, with an annual cap and a lottery-style draw each month. This is hardly encouraging to applicants who don’t want the wait to be down to chance.
“It would be unsurprising if much of the report was ignored by the Home Office given the direction of travel towards immigration and bringing the numbers down.” Philip Barth - Partner