Following the recent deadline for submissions regarding the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) first stage of review of the Tier 2 system, the second stage of the review has recently been published. As with the first stage, the scope of this review focuses on the Tier 2 General and Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) routes. The second consultation further indicates that there may be considerable changes to restrict the availability of Tier 2 visas and it is therefore vital that all employers who use Tier 2 review the questions and inform the MAC of any issues so that it can be reflected in the output of the consultation.

The MAC review is considering whether to restrict Tier 2 General applications to genuine skill shortage occupations and highly specialist experts and whether reforming the shortage occupation list (SOL) is a viable means of achieving this. The SOL reform will include consideration of salaries, an attribute-based points system, economic need and skills set, as well as limiting the amount of time that an occupation can stay on the SOL. The MAC review also considers whether the same approach should be taken in respect of Tier 2 ICT and the effect of applying the immigration health surcharge to ICT migrants.

The effectiveness of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) is also considered, as well as the implementation of a skills levy to be paid by businesses and removal of the automatic right for Tier 2 dependants to work in the UK. The review also provides further opportunity to comment on the impact of increasing minimum salary thresholds for Tier 2 workers which were more specifically reviewed in the first stage of the consultation.

Once again, the MAC are seeking responses to the issues outlined above and hence have released a call for evidence in relation to the matter. This time round there is a more comfortable deadline for submission of 25 September 2015. This is to allow the MAC to comply with their own submission deadline of mid-December 2015. The consultation document (which can be accessed by clicking here) covers the key issues in greater depth.