Earlier this year the home secretary asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on reducing work migration from outside the European Union, while still ensuring that the United Kingdom remains open to the best talent to help the country to succeed. Among the measures that the MAC has been asked to consider is a review of points-based system dependants and the labour market, with a view to restricting the automatic right of Tier 2 dependants to work. The proposal is currently limited to the dependants of Tier 2 migrants and there has not yet been a suggestion for the restriction (if imposed) to be extended to Tier 1 or Tier 4 dependants.

The MAC has been asked to consider the impact of removing this automatic right by reference to the following questions:

  • How would removing the automatic right of dependants to work affect the main applicants' decision on whether to come to work in the United Kingdom?
  • How many Tier 2 employees bring dependants? If so, do they work while in the United Kingdom? Are they qualified to degree level? In what occupations do they work?
  • How would removing the automatic right of dependants to work affect the economy and public finances?
  • Would removing the automatic right of dependants to work have social impacts?
  • Would removing the automatic right of dependants to work have specific regional impacts?

The MAC has called for evidence from as many varied sectors as possible. The result of the consultation is likely to be available in early 2016. The MAC has been directed to fast-track the review of other areas, including salary thresholds for Tier 2 visas and a potential time limit on the period that a sector can claim to have a skills shortage.

For further information on this topic please contact Ben Sheldrick at Magrath LLP by telephone (+44 20 7495 3003) or email (ben.sheldrick@magrath.co.uk). The Magrath LLP website can be accessed at www.magrath.co.uk.

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