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the Migration Advisory Committee

MAC publishes report on UK's handling off skilled migrants
In response to a request by the former Home Secretary, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has today published a report on the new Points-Based System (PBS).
Whilst the report acknowledges that UK employers need a highly skilled workforce and skilled migrants from overseas in order to remain competitive, the report recommends a number of changes designed to limit the number of skilled migrants from entering or remaining in the UK.  The MAC's report is part of the former Home Secretary's 10 Point Plan designed to dramatically overhaul the PBS and ultimately prevent a large number of skilled migrants from entering the UK.
The report acknowledges that UK employers do not want Tier 2 of the PBS, which was introduced in November 2008 to replace the work permit scheme, to be limited to shortage occupations only.
However, despite employer's concerns and needs, the MAC has recommended a further raft of measures designed to create additional obstacles to the use of a new scheme which employers are already struggling to implement.
These include:
         increasing the threshold of earnings to a minimum of 20,000
         workers without qualifications must earn at least 32,000
         increasing application fees for Tier 2
         increasing the period that a role has to be advertised for a minimum of one week (in some cases) to four weeks
         increasing the period before an employee can transfer from an overseas branch to the UK by an intra-company transfer from six months to 12 months
         preventing employees who transferred to the UK by an intra-company transfer at the request of an employer, in most cases to assist the UK branch of that company, from obtaining settlement and to prevent them from then earning the right to become British citizens.
Commenting on the report, Tracy Evlogidis, Head of Immigration at Speechly Bircham, said: "It is clear from the recommendations that employers will face an incredibly difficult task in recruiting skilled migrants from overseas, no matter how special they are and who they are. 
Not only are employers likely to incur increased fees, much to the detriment of small and medium enterprises who are reliant on skilled migrants (especially those operating in the IT and media and arts sectors), they must now grapple with more changes, elongated processes and more red tape. "
Also commenting on the Migration Advisory Committees report into the points-based immigration system released yesterday Neil Carberry, Head of Employment Policy at the CBI, said: These proposals strike the sensible balance that businesses were looking for. It is right that the work permit system reacts to the recession, but abolishing key routes into the country would have damaged the economy at this critical time.
In a globalised economy, letting highly skilled foreign people work in the UK is essential to safeguarding our reputation as a good place to do business, and ensures that we continue to attract overseas investment.
Some businesses have been frustrated by the government frequently moving the goalposts on immigration, and we hope these proposals will encourage stability so that employers can plan ahead.


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