“Businesses want a flexible immigration system that provides access to the staff they need, without costly delays or red tape.” This is what the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) believe, that businesses will welcome the reduction in salary threshold to £25,600 which the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended.
Skilled migrants outside of the European Union (EU) must have a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000. The MAC hold the opinion that this should be reduced to £25,600, in order to help recruit teachers and NHS staff.
Jane Gratton, head of people policy at BCC said:
While a reduction in the salary threshold is welcome and the list of eligible jobs has been expanded, it is disappointing that recommendations did not take account of regional salary differences. This risks limiting access to skills for companies in regions and nations across the UK.
The MAC has also backed our call for a points-based route for skilled workers to enter the UK without a job offer. Businesses should be consulted on how points are awarded to ensure the economy has the right skills at the right time.
While companies are investing more in homegrown skills, they will continue to need access to migrant skills at all levels for the foreseeable future. At a time of critical skills shortages, the government must be clear about its plans and allow businesses ample time to adapt.
The CIPD feels this recommendation will somewhat calm a rough sea, as Gerwyn Davies, senior labour market adviser, for the CIPD said:
These recommendations will provide some mild, temporary relief for many employers concerned about the new immigration system. Many will be relieved to see that the lower minimum salary threshold of £25,600 does not include sectoral or regional variations.
One the downside, other employers will be disappointed that the MAC has not supported lower salary thresholds for shortage occupations, especially public sector employers who have less scope to raise wages in response to labour shortages.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation said:
Reducing the salary threshold is welcome but does not go far enough. In both health and social care we cannot recruit and retain the staff we need now, and unless we have the right migration arrangements we risk stretching local services to breaking point.