The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the independent adviser to the Government on migration issues, published its report on the limit on tier 2 (general) for 2012/13 and associated policies yesterday.

The Government had asked the MAC to concentrate on four issues:

  • the skill level for tier 2 of the points based system (PBS);
  • the intra-company transfer route;
  • the resident labour market test (RLMT); and
  • the level of the limit on tier 2 (general).

The skill level for tier 2 of the PBS

The current skill level for tier 2 jobs is set at level 4 of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). However, the MAC has recommended that the skill level be raised to NQF level 6 which corresponds to Bachelor's degree level. This will cut 32 occupations that qualify for visas as tier 2 migrants and the MAC has estimated that the reduced number of qualifications will cut inflows of migration under tier 2 by 7%.

Intra-company transfers

In relation to intra-company transfers the MAC has reported that a substantial number of tier 2 migrants coming to the UK are doing so under this route. Although no recommendations have been made to amend the current policy, the MAC has recommended that the use of the intra-company transfer route for third-party contracting should be monitored.

The resident labour market test

The MAC recommends that jobs carrying a salary package of between £70,000 and £150,000 and PhD-level jobs should be exempt from the requirement to advertise in JobCentre Plus. We also highlight that there has been no recommendation to change the current exemption on advertising for jobs with a salary package of £150,000 or above.

The level of the limit on tier 2 (general)

Even though the current tier 2 limit is undersubscribed, the MAC has recommended that the current limit of 21,700 remains unchanged. The recommendation is based on ensuring that the UK is not perceived to be an unattractive place to do business. The tier 2 (general) annual limit for the financial year 2012 to 2013 will therefore remain at 21,700.

To view the full MAC report, please click here.