The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) launched a consultation yesterday on the annual limit of the number of non-EU migrants admitted to work in the UK through Tiers 1 and 2 of the points based system, the UK Border Agency announced.
The government has asked the MAC, as an independent expert body on migration, to provide advice on the level of the permanent economic migration limit for its first full year of operation. The permanent limit is intended to be implemented from April 2011.
As well as the economic impacts, the MAC will take into account the social and public service impacts of immigration on the UK.
The consultation will be open for submissions until 7 September 2010, and the MAC advice will be presented to the government by the end of that month. A paper setting out the consultation questions and procedures for submitting evidence has been published today.
The Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, Professor David Metcalf, said:
‘The Migration Advisory Committee is pleased that it has been asked to carry out this work and looks forward to working with its partners to develop robust and well-informed advice to the government.’
The consultation is running in parallel with the UK Border Agency’s limits on non-EU economic migration which was announced on 28 June.
Businesses concerned about a cap on non-EU skilled migrants should take part in the consultation. This week a prominent business group warned that the Government-imposed limit on immigration could pose a risk to the UK recovery.
Government ministers such as the education secretary, Michael Gove, and the universities secretary, David Willetts, have privately warned last week that too rigid an immigration cap could hit Britain’s competitiveness and reputation among top overseas students. The business secretary, Vince Cable, voiced his concerns in public about a too-inflexible cap.
Home Secretary Theresa May unveiled a highly “business friendly” consultation paper earlier this week outlining how the new annual limit for skilled migrants – to be introduced from next April – might work.
A temporary cap to be imposed from July – to prevent a surge in applications ahead of the cap – includes such widespread exemptions that nearly half those who currently qualify for skilled worker visas will be exempt. The exemptions include multinational companies transferring staff and elite sports people, so new restrictions on the use of overseas players in football’s Premier League are ruled out.
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