The UK government are looking at ways to restrict migration into the UK. One of these ways is to make it more difficult for businesses to sponsor people under Tier 2 of the Points Based System.

The government have asked the MAC (the Migration Advisory Committee) to advise on changes to restrict the numbers of Tier 2 migrants. The MAC will file two reports “little MAC” and “big MAC.” The little MAC consultation has now closed and the report has been published and you can view it by clicking here.

The little MAC report focuses on recommendations on increasing minimum salary levels across Tier 2. It is likely any changes will be implemented in October 2015. The big MAC report will form the basis of any changes to the Immigration Rules in April 2016 that will restrict your ability to sponsor your preferred candidate if they are not British or from the European Economic Area. 

WHEN IS THIS REPORT DUE?

The MAC report is due by mid-December 2015 but the deadline for giving evidence to the Committee is on 25 September 2015.

WHAT IS EXPECTED IN THE REPORT?

  • The language of the call for evidence suggests that widespread reform is sought by the government of the Tier 2 system. This could include;
  • Restricting Tier 2 (General) to roles deemed to be in shortage and highly specialist experts only
  • Applying a skills levy to fund apprenticeships
  • Preventing dependants of Tier 2 migrants from working in the UK
  • Tightening the rules for Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visas
  • Applying the NHS Immigration Surcharge to Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) visas
  • Increasing the minimum salary across Tier 2
  • Placing tighter restrictions on particular sectors, especially the IT sector
  • Introducing an annual quota for Tier 2

The government will consider the report and are likely to implement punitive measures on Tier 2 as part of the manifesto pledge to reduce net migration.

WHAT CAN I DO?

As this is likely to have a significant impact on employers, we are holding a meeting with MAC representatives to enable our clients to put forward any views and concerns they may have. The meeting will be a forum to give your views and that of your business on the proposed reforms to Tier 2 and propose alternatives. We hope you will join us at this important event. 

You can also submit your own views directly to the MAC in writing, details of which can be found in the link below.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

You can read the call for evidence here.