The long-awaited #MAC Recommendations came through last week with nothing really out of the extraordinary, or at least, not at all unexpected.
The MAC was tasked to provide recommendations on where a ‘new’ Points Based System (PBS) will stand in the future of our immigration system as well as the future salary threshold for sponsored workers.
In summary, the MAC recommended the following:
A #PBS based on those with a job offer, those without and those for settlement
For those with a job offer, to largely retain the current framework for Tier 2 (General)
For those without a job offer, currently classified as Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent), the MAC recommends:
- Forming a pool of Applicants rather than by individual application. Essentially, only invitees from the pool will be able to apply
- A pre-selection based on Maximum and Minimum points and specialist subject should be chosen to apply
For those intending to settle
- The MAC recommends an immediate pause on the increase of salary threshold for settlement
- A further recommendation to review the current requirements for settlement to see how effective the route currently is
It appears that the MAC is suggesting what we once know as Tier 1 (General) or Highly Skilled Migrant Programme but with a twist. The twist being the MAC is recommending a system where points and award of points are crucial and not an arbitrary grant of points under the current system.
At present, our PBS is based on whether one gets points or not. There is no trade-off in education, specialist skills, age, etc.
This said, whether the recommendation of a re-branded #HSMP or Tier (General) scheme will work has yet to be seen. After all, the programme was cancelled by the Government not so many years ago.
On another note, the MAC made some critical recommendations for salary thresholds and current Tier 2 General functionality. In essence, the MAC recommended that:
As a result of the future inclusion for some NQF Level 3 roles in the immigration, to level the minimum salary threshold to effectively £25,600 per annum for experienced workers
No regional reduction to the salary threshold but the MAC does recommend a pilot scheme for specific cities to trial a lower threshold
No pro-rata discount of salary for Part-Time workers but support pro-rata calculation for wages for new returned part-time parents
Removing of allowances and pension and other non-main salaries as part of the salary package when considering salary threshold
A review of the percentage allowed for equity owning employees under Tier 2 (General)
Recommending specific NQF Level 3 jobs are added/removed
New entrant salary should be set to a particular percentage of reduction across the general skilled workers (and occupation-specific) threshold. The recommendation is set at 30% reduction, i.e. £17,900
New entrants should enjoy a 5-year rate (against the current three) but should be included if the New Entrant is on a post-study visa
National pay scales should be used as the relevant salary thresholds in 24 occupations in health and education instead of both the occupation-specific and general thresholds.
A review of the Shortage Occupation List when the new immigration system is introduced and also that Shortage Occupations should not attract lower salary thresholds for entry
Overall, the recommendations from MAC are not at all unreasonable and if taken in full, a rather good foundation for the Government to build on to their new immigration system.
The Government has already mooted in agreement with the salary threshold, and we will be keen to see whether the Government will accept in full the other key recommendations made by the MAC.
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