Thresholds put in place to determine exactly how much a migrant needs to earn to live and work in the UK have been a source of heated conversation for several months now. The UK work permit for tier 2 applicants currently requires individuals applying for a job within the UK to have a career lined up that allows them to earn £30,000 or more each year.
However, the Migration Advisory Committee, which has recently conducted research on behalf of the Home Office and the UK Home Secretary, indicates that salary thresholds need to change. Although many groups have claimed that tier 2 work permit thresholds should be abandoned completely, the MAC believes that it is important for thresholds to exist in the UK landscape, to stop employers from hiring outside of the UK just because labour is cheaper.
However, the MAC does agree that the threshold amounts need to change for specific jobs and careers. For instance, while the MAC thinks that the threshold for architects should be increased to almost £35,000, it also notes that the threshold for NHS staff should be lowered to £25,600 for all workers. A lower threshold for the NHS could be a powerful way to overcome labour shortages in the UK.
Home secretary Priti Patel said that ministers would consider the recommendations made by the committee carefully. However, there’s no guarantee that the findings produced by the MAC group will make a difference to the immigration strategy that is implemented in March.
The MAC’s recommendations regarding lower salary thresholds for certain roles in the UK would support the conservatives’ claims that it should be easier for skilled individuals to come into the UK where labour gaps exist. However, steps are already being put in place to bring the right people into the UK, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
This includes the decision to switch to a points-based system for immigration, where a person’s ability to enter the country will be measured based on the desirable skills they have.