Home Office called to hike Tier 2 visa salary threshold to £36,700

Migrants from the EU will have to command an annual salary of £36,700 before being able to work in Britain work post-Brexit, under proposals put to the government this morning.

So the current £30k threshold needs hiking by 35% if Tier 2 visas, or ‘Skilled Work Visas’ as they should be renamed, are to be set at a ‘level commensurate to the status of skilled workers.’

Right-leaning thinktank the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) also tells the Home Office today that ‘strategically important occupations’ like nursing, could be made exempt from the threshold.

'Unfilled'

But increasing the Tier 2 minimum salary threshold is the opposite of what has been widely called for – including by the REC, whose member firms include IT contractor jobs agencies.

In fact, in line with researcher Global Future, which foresees "100,000 unfilled jobs" due to the £30k threshold, the REC has urged government to decrease the threshold, not increase it.

Job giant Indeed has implied the same, having told ContractorUK that at £30k, the threshold “raises the prospect of skilled European eschewing a post-Brexit UK” for rival nations.

'Available and willing'

Yet the CSJ argues that by raising the threshold for skilled migrants from the EU, businesses will, “theoretically, react by hiring more Britons who are ‘available and willing to do the job.’

The thinktank also says that UK immigration policy “must reflect the changing political, economic and social context” and “prioritise economically-valuable immigration.”

Seeming to agree, at least with this latter point about high value immigration, prime minister Boris Johnson has said the UK will end the 2,000-cap on visas for the most talented migrants.

'Focus on need, not numbers'

Innovation and research bodies such as the Culham Science Centre, where Mr Johnson announced the end of the cap, have welcomed the relaxation to the Tier 1 visa system.

Speaking last month following a similarly less divisive immigration reform  -- scrapping the UK’s official net migration target, the CBI said it was right to “focus on need, not numbers”.

The CBI’s Matthew Fell also said: “Business looks forward to working with the government to design a new immigration system that commands public confidence.”

To replace the discredited net target, introduced in 2010, Mr Johnson has said the Migration Advisory Committee is now examining the case for an Australian-style points-based system.  

Family-related visas warrant a review too, as does the UK’s permanent residency test, the CSJ says in their report today, ‘Prioritising Growth: The Future of Immigration Policy.’

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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