The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) have recommended the annual limit on skilled workers from outside of the European Economic Area should remain unchanged for the next financial year, the UK Border Agency announced today.
Following its first review of the limit, which was introduced in 2011 and applies to non-EEA migrants applying to work in the UK under Tier 2 of the immigration system, the MAC recommends it remain at its current level of 21,700. Current estimates suggest that the number of Tier 2 visas issued in the 12 months to April 2012 could be as low as 10,000.
The MAC was also asked to look at the number of intra-company transfers. It has not recommended any changes to the policy, but advises that it should be kept under review and the use of intra-company transfers for third-party contracting should be monitored closely.
Chair of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf CBE, said:
‘Although the current Tier 2 limit is undersubscribed the MAC recognises that cutting it may affect the perception of the UK as an attractive place to do business.
‘The Tier 2 system is set up to prevent displacement of UK workers but intra-company transfers are not part of that limit and account for the lion’s share of those visas. The use of this route for third-party contracting needs to be kept under review and we have recommended three methods to cut the numbers if necessary.’
In addition the MAC was asked to look at the effect of raising the required skill level for Tier 2 migrants from National Qualification Framework Level 4 to National Qualification Framework Level 6. It found that raising this level would cut the number of occupations that qualify for Tier 2 visas from 121 to 89 which would exclude occupations such as office managers, IT technicians and health and safety officers. It is estimated that this change would reduce inflows through Tier 2 by 7 per cent.
Finally, the MAC looked at whether some high paid jobs should be exempt from the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). It recommends that highly-paid and PhD-level jobs should be exempt from the RLMT requirement to advertise in Jobcentre Plus. Source: UK Border Agency.
Yesterday Immigration Matters reported that three times as many migrant workers came to the UK on companies’ transfers schemes than on general visas for skilled workers, official figures show.
Firms using the intra-company transfer (ICT) scheme brought in 29,700 non-European staff in the 12 months to September 2011.
The Government’s “immigration cap” on migration has prevented smaller companies, for instance in the care industry, recruiting skilled staff workers from outside the EU.
Many care industry and catering businesses are reverting to Romanian, Bulgarian and other European workers, as the Government’s cap on migration, combined with newly imposed restrictions on Tier 2 and Tier 4 routes, has made it extremely difficult to recruit non-EU staff (on work permits and student visas).
The UK Immigration Minister recently announced that work restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals have been extended until 2014.
Unlike an IT company with a branch in India or the U.S., a care home which desperately needs Senior Care Workers cannot parachute someone in from overseas.
Looking at the wider picture, perhaps the question we should be asking is why companies are going to so much trouble to recruit or ‘transfer’ workers from abroad?
In November Immigration Matters reported that official figures revealed that 500 foreigners landed a job in Britain every day over the past year while the number of UK-born workers fell and unemployment hit a 17-year high.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:
Majestic College offer special packages for EU students. They also have a number of employers looking for staff right now and are willing to employ Bulgarians and Romanians.
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You could qualify for a tax refund if you are an overseas student, work permit holder, Tier 1, Yellow or Blue Card holder – in fact any visa type – even if you are no longer legal or even in the UK!