In his latest speech on immigration, Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed that the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) will consider new measures to reduce demand for migrant labour.

MAC is responsible for providing transparent, independent and evidence-based advice to the Government on migration issues. By the end of 2015, it will advise the Government on: 

  • restricting work visas to genuine skills shortages and highly specialist experts
  • putting a time limit on how long a sector can claim to have a skills shortage
  • a new skills levy on Tier 2 visas to boost funding to UK apprenticeships
  • raising salary thresholds to stop businesses using foreign workers to undercut wages
  • restrictions on the automatic right of Tier 2 dependants to work
  • tightening up the intra company transferee (ICT) route, including applying the immigration health surcharge to ICTs
  • raising the minimum salary levels that economic migrants have to be paid 

While the bulk of MAC’s proposals will be delivered by December 2015, allowing the Government to implement any amendments in the April 2016 rule changes, MAC has been asked to fast track proposals on raising the salary thresholds of Tier 2 visas in time for the Autumn Immigration Rule changes. 

Many businesses have raised serious concerns regarding the proposals outlined in the Prime Minister’s speech. There is clear evidence that in certain sectors, for example technology, where there is a large scale skills shortage, skilled migrants are required not only to help fill the skills shortage but also to upskill British workers.