The UK’s departure from the EU will inevitably mark the end of freedom of movement in the UK, meaning that in the future EU citizens will be treated no differently to nationals of any other country. The current work visa requirements for non-EU citizens are onerous, including a cap on the total number of work visas issued each year, the requirement to advertise the role for the domestic labour market and the imposition of a minimum salary threshold.
Whilst the UK government appreciated the risks involved in incorporating these measures in a new system without adjustment, its political desire to display a tough stance on immigration appears to have been a decisive factor against any relaxation of future rules. However, amid the realisation that a strict transposition of the current regulations to any future system would inevitably result in labour shortages nationally, the government seems to have softened its stance on shaping the future immigration system.
Back in 2018 the Migration Advisory Committee (“MAC”) recommended that a salary threshold be retained in the future immigration system at the level of £30,000 and £20,800 per annum for experienced workers and new entrants respectively. It emerged this week, however, that the Home Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the MAC to review the issue of salary thresholds and propose a new method for calculating them.
It is striking that along with the anticipated question about the levels of salary threshold, the MAC has been asked whether there is a case for introducing various exceptions, including where an occupation is in shortage. Furthermore, the Home Secretary has suggested the possibility of introducing regional salary thresholds, which would operate in different parts of the UK. By doing so, he appears to be conscious of the fact that since salary levels may differ up and down the country, some parts of the UK may be locked out of utilising the immigration work force due to an inability to meet the salary threshold.
The Home Secretary said: “These proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation… That’s why I’ve asked independent experts to review the evidence on salary thresholds. It’s crucial the new immigration system works in the best interests of the whole of the UK”.
It is reported that the MAC will present its findings by January 2020, and the new system will be introduced from 2021.
If you have any questions relating to work visa issues, sponsor licences or Certificates of Sponsorship, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.