UK: Call For Evidence Regarding Potential Reforms To Tier 1 And 2

Last Updated: 6 May 2009
Article by Caron Pope, Louise Carson and Emily Pope

Further to our communication, the Secretary of State has requested that the Migration Advisory Committee ("MAC") advise on the following issues:

  • What further changes to Tier 1 of the Points Based System should there be in 2010/11, given the changing economic circumstances?
  • Is there an economic case for restricting Tier 2 to shortage occupations?
  • What is the MAC's assessment of the economic contribution made by the dependants of the Points Based System and their role in the labour market?

A Conceptual Paper and Call for Evidence was published on 30 April.

The MAC has been asked to report on the first point by the end of October 2009 and the second and third by the end of July. Whilst they wish to respond to the economic conditions, they are mindful that they must act to 'secure the UK's long-term economic prosperity and respond to the economic upswing when it occurs'. Factors to be considered include employment, unemployment, earnings, GDP, net fiscal position, labour market flexibility, inward investment, international trade patterns and technological change.

However, it is now vital that employers mobilise themselves and lobby the MAC to ensure that their interests are represented and the valuable routes into the UK for migrant workers are preserved.

Tier 1

Tier 1 was created to attract highly skilled migrants to the UK and therefore is supply (rather than demand) focused, although can be used by employers to ensure specific individuals can come to the UK to work without the need for sponsorship.

Whilst the MAC will review all four Tier 1 categories (Entrepreneurs, Investor, Post Study Worker, General), it is likely that Tier 1 (General) and Tier 1 (Post Study Worker) are likely to be of most value to employers and they may wish to make representations as to the need for these schemes by their business.

The MAC is considering the following:

  • Changing the pass mark from 75 points
  • Changing the requirements by adding new ones or removing existing ones
  • Changing the number of points awarded for each requirement
  • Altering leave to remain durations

In particular, the MAC require evidence on the following:

  • How, if at all, should the points and/or leave to enter or remain entitlements be adjusted or changed in 2010/11 to respond to current and future changes in economic and labour market conditions?
  • In what sectors do Tier 1 (General) and (Post Study Workers) migrants work and why?

Tier 2

Tier 2 (the tier under which migrants are sponsored) will also be revisited. The MAC recognise that the UK must be responsive to employer demand however they will be considering arguments for against:

  • closing the Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT)
  • introducing new requirements for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT)
  • altering the points criteria for Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT)
  • altering the leave entitlements

As broad policy questions, they request submissions to answer the following questions:

  • Does the current allocation of points by entry route achieve the right balance between the relative difficulties of entering the UK via each route?
  • Should the current length of leave to enter or remain entitlement by entry route be altered to reflect relative shortages, and their likely duration, by occupation?

Of particular concern for employers is the potential abolition of the ICT route for the individuals with 6 months experience working for a group company overseas. The MAC wish to answer the following queries:

  • What evidence is there of the potential impact on the UK economy and labour market of suspending this route until further notice?
  • Is there any evidence of displacement of domestic workers or undercutting?
  • Do workers gaining entry through the ICT route complement the skills of the domestic workforce?
  • Do such workers fill roles that genuinely require a current company employee?

In addition, the loss of the Tier 2 (General) route would also be of concern to employers who frequently use it to recruit those with a very specific set of skills where roles are not the shortage occupation lists. The MAC require evidence to answer the following queries:

  • What evidence is there of the potential impact on the UK economy and labour market of suspending this route until further notice?
  • Is there any evidence of displacement of domestic workers or undercutting?
  • Is the route operating effectively: for instance, should the required advertising time be longer that one or two weeks?

As there is currently no management information regarding PBS, it is vital that employers respond to this request. We strongly encourage employers who could be adversely affected to write to MAC to confirm their use of these categories and the detrimental effect their removal would have on their business, emphasising the importance of staff mobility on business continuity and the importance of successful transfer of skills within a global corporation.

Dependants

The MAC have also requested information in relation to the economic contribution of migrant's dependants. Whilst other information is requested, perhaps the query most relevant to global employers is:

  • What impact does policy on dependants (ie. their right to work) have on the decision of principal immigrants to come to the UK to work

Request for Information

Employers should write to the MAC by the 11 June for their views to be considered.

Address:

Migration Advisory Committee
6th Floor, Advance House
15 Wellesey Road
Croydon
CR0 2AG

mac@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Please ensure that you provide the following:

  • Your name
  • Address
  • Contact Details
  • Details of the Organisation you represent
  • Full and specific evidence to support any claims, together with an easily digestible summary

Summary

The MAC has been asked to report on various aspects of PBS to allow the Government to respond to the economic downturn.

The most concerning matter for employers, is that the MAC has been asked to report on restricting Tier 2 to shortage occupations which would be extremely detrimental to employers who regularly transfer migrant staff from overseas.

Employers should ensure that they lobby the MAC, giving details of the impact on their business by 11 June 2009.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 06/05/2009.

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