Migration Advisory Committee Suggested the Salary Threshold Be Lowered by £4,000


The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advised that the government decrease the migrant salary threshold by over £4,000. Skilled migrants are now required to present a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000. The MAC reported that the threshold should drop down to £25,600 for all categories of workers to boost enrollment of NHS personnel and teachers.


Boris Johnson proposed an Australian-style immigration system that would be based on the scores given for qualifications, experience, English skills and more factors. In the light of the MAC recommendations, Home Secretary Priti Patel pointed out that the report would be taken into serious consideration although it was still advisory rather than mandatory.


What’s the status quo for now? EU/EEA nationals can enter the UK to live, work or study without a visa. Third country nationals are basically offered two routes (since Tier 3 for low skilled workers got suspended):


  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent visa) for highly skilled people; no job offer required, yet there’s a yearly cap of 2,000 candidates.


  • Tier 2 (General visa) where candidates have to strictly adhere to predefined parameters; they also need an offer with a £30,000 salary threshold. The threshold is lower if the person belongs on the Shortage Occupation List. This one includes NHS staff and engineers among others professions in shortage.


The new points-based immigration policy will aim to attract talent based on professional and personal factors. Encharged with a report, the MAC came up with a 280-odd page document that called out on the current overcomplicated policy.


The MAC recommended the Home Office could extend Tier 1 by boosting the number of points granted to people with the most wanted skills and giving greater priority to younger and promising applicants. As for Tier 2, the committee concluded that the requirements were too stringent for a points-based system. Currently, applicants must meet all of them to qualify.


Salary-wise, the MAC advises the government to drop the threshold from the current £30,000 to £25,600. The committee believes this would help attract more medium-skilled workers and fill the existing shortage.


If the Home Office accepts the recommendations, more EU citizens will be able to get a visa after the transition period elapses. It’s not only about the salary threshold. The modified policy would also add more professions to the qualified worker list, such glaziers, plasterers, carpenters and teaching assistants.


The MAC suggests that the educational and healthcare sectors would benefit greatly from the changes. At that, candidates engaged in fishing and simple agricultural roles would be taken down from the list. The committee admitted that social care would be under more pressure as fewer low-skilled workers would be able to come and stay in the UK.


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