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Education Immigration e-briefing - Government's response to MAC recommendations

  • United Kingdom
  • Education - Briefings

01-04-2016

The Government has announced its response to the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and the headlines as far as institutions are concerned are as follows:

  • From April 2017 there will be an Immigration Skills Charge of £1,000 per Tier 2 migrant per year. However, a reduced rate of £364 will apply to charities. There will be no Immigration Skills Charge where the institution is recruiting for PhD level occupations, or students switching from Tier 4 to Tier 2.
  • Students in the UK under a Tier 4 visa will continue to be able to switch into Tier 2 (provided they satisfy the necessary requirements) without their future employer having to undertake a resident labour market test;
  • The minimum salary threshold for Tier 2 (General) applications is to increase to £30,000 in April 2017, with this change to be phased in with an interim increase of £25,000 from Autumn 2016. However, the minimum rate for new entrants will remain at £20,800.

Beyond the Ministerial Statement there is little additional information available at this early stage.

Comment

The MAC recommendations included that all in-country switches should be subject to the resident labour market test, including those switching from Tier 4 into Tier 2.  The introduction of the resident labour market test in these circumstances would only exacerbate the concern that the UK has becoming a less attractive place for international students to study, as it would have made it even more difficult for those students to remain in the UK in employment once their studies had been completed.  Institutions will therefore welcome the Government’s decision not to adopt this recommendation.

The application of a lower rate Immigration Sills Charge for charities will also be welcomed by institutions, as will the exemption for PhD level occupations and those switching from tier 4 to tier 2.  Nevertheless, the Immigration Sills Charge will entail further costs for institutions who recruit staff under Tier 2.  

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