The Prime Minister has unveiled tough new proposals to significantly reduce the scale of UK migration from outside the EU. This will include a commission for the Migration Advisory Committee to advise on the following:

  • Restricting work visas to “genuine skill shortages and specialists”
  • Putting a time limit on how long a sector can claim to have a skills shortage
  • A new “skills levy” on businesses who recruit foreign workers, to be spent on UK apprenticeships
  • Increasing the salary threshold for a skilled worker’s visa*
  • Restrictions on the automatic right of Tier 2 dependants to work
  • Tightening up on the intra company transferee (ICT) route, including applying the immigration health surcharge to ICTs

*With the latest April 2015 Immigration Rule changes, the minimum salary for a Tier 2 General migrant was raised from £20,500 to £20,800. The government’s stated aim is to increase this again by the autumn.

The government can expect forceful lobbying from UK businesses against these proposals, who have already stated their objection to measures designed to restrict the flow of skilled migrants to the UK.