MAC advises minimum pay as UK work permit criteria

09 Nov 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The government has made a number of important changes to the UK immigration rules since coming into power, one of which is to make it significantly harder for workers to settle in the country.

In response to this, a report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has looked as possible ways of determining the distribution of settlement rights.

It suggested setting a minimum annual pay level to help determine which UK work permit holders should be eligible to remain.

As well as suggesting an overall pay threshold, the committee advised that Tier 1 work permit holders should be allowed to proceed to settlement after five years, while Tier 2 work permit holders should be subject to a pay threshold of between £31,000 and £49,000.

Furthermore, the group called for sportspeople to be subject to the same pay criteria as other migrants under Tier 2 and the government should work with businesses in order to upskill the country's labour market to “mitigate the impact of restricting settlement rights”.

David Metcalf, chairman of the MAC, commented: “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.”