Post-Brexit EU migration: Recommendations now out
In July 2017, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to report on European migration in the UK. The MAC has now issued its final report and recommendations.
The key theme of the report is that, if UK immigration policy is not included in any exit agreement with the EU, EU citizens migrating for work should not be given more favourable treatment than non-EU migrants.
The key recommendations are as follows:
- Streamlining the process for high-skilled migrants to enter the UK for work (including entrepreneur visas).
- Abolishing the annual cap on the number of Tier 2 visas. If implemented, this is likely to be welcomed by employers, as the operation of the cap means in practice that it is difficult to estimate how high an individual's salary must be in order for them to be granted a visa in any particular month.
- Abolishing the Resident Labour Market Test. Again, this is likely to be welcomed by employers who find this a bureaucratic barrier to recruiting high-skilled individuals. Alternatively, the MAC recommends that posts with a salary of £50,000 or above are exempted from this.
- Maintaining the salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) visas.
- Simplifying the sponsorship system to make it easier for employees to switch jobs.
The Government often adopts MAC recommendations, but in this case its appetite (or ability) to do so will be heavily influenced by the progress of the Brexit negotiations. Another issue is likely to be the resource pressure on the Home Office, given that the UK's imminent exit from the EU (and rise in applications for residence by EU nationals already in the UK) is already placing heavy pressure on the Home Office.