The Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”) has today published its recommendations following an extensive consultation with interested parties.

One of the issues the MAC was asked to advise on was raising the skill level of Tier 2 from NQF4+ to NQF6+.  This would have the effect of removing a number of occupations from the Graduate Occupation List.  The MAC has found that 32 occupation codes do not meet the criteria for NQF6+ and will fall away from the Graduate List if the UK Border Agency follows the MAC’s recommendations.  These include Financial and Accounting Technicians, Business Related Professionals not elsewhere classified and Marketing Associate Professionals.  However, the MAC indicated that it may be the case that specific jobs within the at risk codes could still qualify for NQF6+, particularly if the salary is at a higher level.  The MAC has expressed its willingness to carry out a review of the skill level of the relevant occupations.

On a positive note, Journalists and Newspaper and Periodical Editors,  Public Relations Officers, Physiotherapists and Nurses have now been ranked as meeting the NQF6+ criteria, whereas previously they did not.

Other positive outcomes are that the MAC considers the £40,000 salary threshold to be an appropriate test of skill and including allowances within this does not downgrade this salary threshold as a test of skill.  Further it is not recommending that there should be regional variations in salary.  

With regard to the annual limit for Tier 2 General, the MAC is recommending keeping the level at the current 20,700 for the period 2012/2013.

As for the Resident Labour Market test, the MAC is recommending that for jobs between £70,000 and £150,000, the requirement to advertise on JobCentre Plus should be removed, but Sponsors should still be required to advertise the position in a suitable medium.  Advertising should still run for the existing period of 28 days.  

With regard to the Shortage Occupation List, the MAC did not make any specific recommendations, though put forward some possible options, including limiting the period for which occupations will remain on this list.