MAC advises slashing salary threshold for UK-bound migrants

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that the salary threshold for skilled migrant workers entering the UK should be lowered.

The MAC believes that reducing the salary threshold under the Tier 2 (General) visa scheme from £30,000 to £25,600 would make it more affordable for employers to sponsor skilled workers from abroad.

In addition to meeting the thresholds, employers offering jobs to workers from overseas would also need to pay an occupation-specific rate.

“We see an important role for salary thresholds; what is a cost to an employer is an income for a worker,” Professor Alan Manning, chair of the MAC, said.

“Salary thresholds prevent undercutting in the labour market, ensuring that employers are not hiring migrants simply because they are cheaper. Salary thresholds can help ensure that migrants are helping to improve the public finances: of every extra pound in earnings approximately 50p goes to the state, and they can help realise the ambition of the UK as a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy.”

The MAC report also recommended that teachers and NHS workers should be exempted from meeting a salary threshold, while those under 26 and recent graduates from UK universities should be given permission to work in the UK with a minimum salary of £17,920 per year.

The MAC recommendations follow a similar announcement from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) early last week. The CBI, along with the British Chamber of Commerce, called on the government to slash the threshold to £20,100.

However, recent media reports have suggested that prime minister Boris Johnson is considering scrapping the salary threshold entirely under his plans for an “Australian-style” points-based immigration system.

Article published 3rd February 2020