Response by United Kingdom’s Industry to Proposals by Government to restrict Skilled Migration

The Migratory Advisory Committee has been commissioned by the Government to critically look at the United Kingdom’s Tier 2 with the aim of drastically bringing down the United Kingdom’s net migration. Our response to the call for evidence by the MAC was submitted by us on the 25th day of September. Opinions which were surveyed from a lot of international contacts and clients from industry sectors across a wide variety were taken into account in it. The executive summary is reproduced below.

The major actions taken to limit both Tier 2 ICT and Tier 2 General visas proposed for consideration by the Government are:

The Tier 2 migrants with the benefits that are the greatest to the United Kingdom being prioritized based on their level of salary
The view generally is that the levels of salary as a device by which the issue of the benefit which is the greatest to the United Kingdom is being determined is far too blunt. It suffers from its failure to be able to have taken into account the salaries’ ranges which get paid throughout various sectors and various regions inside of the United Kingdom. It is also going to be of favour to those commercial ventures which are the most capable of paying salaries that are high, and not those that are in dire need of the expert skills that can be provided by only a particular migrant. For clients who possess graduate programs that are international or in which the duties need specialist training of an extensive nature but which are unfortunately not so well paying (for instance in architecture and engineering) this would be of particular concern.

Tier 2 being limited to genuine shortages in skills, experts who are highly specialist, and roles that are of high value
There is no definition of any of these phrases in the call for evidence of MAC – clear guidance would be required to be issued to employers on any use of these terms. The argument could be that the administrative, complexity, and cost burdens of the existing procedures of Tier 2 are already a deterrent that is significant to unnecessarily having a visa for Tier 2 sought and that there is nowhere inside the call for evidence that a suggestion is made to the problem in a material way with the gratuitous application for these visas. The conclusion which is inevitable is that employers should be making applications for these visas have already taken into consideration that there is a genuine shortage of skills, that the particular migrant is specialized in a high manner, and that there is high value to be gained by their business from the role. Therefore it means that any limitations that are significant on the basis of these phrases would mean that the United Kingdom industry is being denied the capacity to employ migrants which it presently believes it genuinely (and apparently reasonably) requires.

Restricting the duration of time in which classifications can be made to occupations as experiencing shortages
The reasonable opinion of our patrons was that occupations must stay on the Shortage Occupation Listing until there was no more any lack in that occupation. The general acceptance is that duties added on the Listing must be subjected to periodic reviews, however it seems to be an option that is lazy in having an assessment properly done in order to find out if there is still an existence of a shortage when a fixed period is imposed. Restricting the time of a role on the Listing to a period that is fixed would be similar to having the genuine needs of businesses in the United Kingdom subordinated to convenience of an administrative nature or expediency of a political nature and, in our contention, an unfortunate disconnect between the best interests of the economy of the United Kingdom and the law.

Restricting the privilege to work in the United Kingdom by Tier 2 migrant’s dependants
Our patrons significantly showed that limiting or stopping dependants from being employed in the United Kingdom was a deterrent to the major applicant on Tier 2 from ever arriving in this country. Our estimation is that more than half of our patron’s employees coming in through Tier 2 arrive in the United Kingdom with their dependants coming with them. the effect of this deterrent is going to therefore be of a material nature and might probably also both limit opportunities for employment for nationals of the United Kingdom and exacerbate the existing shortages in skills.

On the whole, the part of these proposals that is depressing is their apparent inadequacy in being able to accomplish their given goals, or in the least without any damage of a material nature to UK Plc and UK Limited. It must be observed that in 2014 there were a little more than 50,000 visas on Tier 2 which were granted (excluding dependants). However, of that statistic, just about 15,000 were approved under the category for Tier 2 General. The only work visa which leads to settlement of a permanent nature in the United Kingdom is the Tier 2 General. For any relevance that is real to net migration it is the only category that is regarded (a maximum stay of just 5 years is permitted by the vast majority of Tier 2 ICT visas and most assignees of ICT remain for periods which are shorter). To have this placed in context, if anyone even adds dependants who come along to the United Kingdom with the primary applicant, in 2014 Tier 2 General made up for just about one out of ten of the United Kingdom’s net migration. If these actions bring down migrants on Tier 2 General by, let us imagine, ten percent therefore, this would have removed only one in ten out of the United Kingdom’s net migration. And assuming that assignments that are temporary through the Tier 2 ICT have any relevance to net migration, there would be an effect which would be similarly negligible by the proposals. Contrasting, based on the Office of National Statistics, the quantity of nationals of the EU who are non-UK that were between April and June 2015 in employment increased over the same period in 2014 by about 200,000.

It is unfortunately not possible to not take note of the conclusion that this assessment is a political concession to UKIP and readers of the Daily Mail who are blinded by images of Syrians who are dispossessed and the confusion at Calais, and it is never an attempt that is seriously made by those in Government to tackle the complete concerns with regards to net immigration, a grave case of having the deckchairs re-arranged while nothing is being done to stay away from the iceberg. The reaction of our patrons is distinct – even though no other person supports the hiring of migrants in favour to local staff who are suitably qualified, any action which would bring down the United Kingdom’s commercial ventures’ contact to the talents which are the best, whether they are foreign or home grown, will correspond to a real danger to our prospects economically. The way forward is not going to be through these actions.