Javid orders review of skilled visa salary threshold

The proposed salary thresholds for skilled migrant workers coming to the UK after Brexit is to be reviewed after objections from employers across the country.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to consider changes to the planned £30,000 threshold for experienced workers before the new immigration system comes into force in 2021.The proposals for the salary thresholds – which includes a £20,800 minimum for graduates and the recently qualified – have been condemned by business groups facing a skills shortage, which they say will inevitably worsen when freedom of movement for EU nationals ends with Brexit.

New immigration system faces widespread objections 

Because of the widespread objections to the plan, Mr Javid has now not only asked the committee to consider the whole thresholds system and whether there should be exceptions to it, but also whether there would be a case for introducing regional salary thresholds for different parts of the UK."It's vital the new immigration system continues to attract talented people to grow our economy and support business while controlling our borders," he said."These proposals are the biggest change to our immigration system in a generation, so it's right that we consider all of the evidence before finalising them."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."The MAC previously recommended existing minimum salary thresholds should be retained in the new immigration system. Since the government published its immigration white paper late last year, the Home Office has held more than 100 meetings with 1,500 business leaders across the UK.A Home Office spokesman said the new system, "favours experience and talent over nationality", adding, "It already includes measures designed to support business, such as removing the cap on skilled worker numbers; speeding up processing times for work visas; scrapping resident labour market tests; and widening the skills thresholds so that anyone with the equivalent of A levels can apply under the new skilled workers route."

Home Secretary’s proposals seen as a positive step 

Mike Spicer, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, "We have long campaigned for the government to reconsider what to businesses seemed like arbitrary caps so this is a positive step from the home secretary."A one-size-fits all approach that extends existing minimum thresholds to EU nationals would leave many businesses unable to access the skills needed to grow. "The design of the new system must avoid any sudden shocks and take account of the differences in labour market conditions across the UK."

Shortage of skilled workers increasing time taken to fill vacancies

News of the review – whose findings are not expected to be published until next January – coincided with the publication of a survey by the BCC and jobs site Indeed, which found that some firms are taking up to six months to fill vacancies because of the shortage of skilled workers.The survey of 1,100 companies found that half of UK businesses reported it was taking longer to recruit the skills they need than five years ago.Pawel Adrjan, UK economist at Indeed, said, "Today, more working age people are in employment than ever before and there continues to be strong demand from employers for staff."While these economic conditions have clear benefits, they also make hiring more difficult. Combined with uncertainty about future immigration policy, that means employers should consider training a workforce for the future."Yet what this survey shows is that employers are either unaware or apathetic about schemes like T-levels and the related placements."Subscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory