UK work permit pay thresholds criticised

07 Nov 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The pay thresholds recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) for UK work permits have been criticised by an IT recruitment expert.

MAC reviewed its recommendations regarding jobs and salaries for Tier 2 work permits back in October and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is now starting to implement the adaptations into current codes of practice.

But the suggestions put forward by the MAC for the IT sector are flawed and do not do professionals any favours, according to George Molyneaux from Salary Services/jobadswatch.

A statement from the recruitment expert read: “In the view of Salary Services Ltd/jobadswatch, the changes being implemented do not reflect the structure and salary levels of personnel working in IT and effectively mean the criteria being applied to grant visas to non EEA-IT workers is flawed.”

He added that the changes being implemented were a “meaningless set of salary figures”, adding: “To state that a programmer on a current pay threshold of £26,000 equates to a senior developer on a threshold of £37,400 seems odd. If they had broadly similar responsibilities, why such a large difference in pay?”

The apparent confusion within the MAC regarding skills and salaries in the IT industry has the potential to disturb immigration and business. With such tight controls over Tier 2 work permit access and an ongoing need for skilled workers in the UK, mistakes over salaries and job roles could cause some serious repercussions across various sectors.

Despite this, there is still a strong need for balance. Figures cited by Mr Molyneaux suggest that UK IT job advertisements fell by almost 70 per cent on pre-2008 levels. The recession will clearly have played a major role in this decline, however there is some concern that too many positions are being outsourced to overseas employees who are willing to work for less.

But without accurate salary estimates and official immigration data this is likely to be a difficult - if not impossible - task.