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End cap on skilled migrants

In its response to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), London First has called on the Government to:

  • end the cap on the number of skilled migrants come to work in the UK;
  • maintain the current Tier 2 salary threshold levels;
  • leave intra-company transfers uncapped.

In June, the Home Secretary commissioned the MAC to conduct a review of the Tier 2 route and how the flow of skilled migrants to the UK might be reduced.

Tier 2 and the inter-company transfer route of the Government’s points based immigration system enable London businesses to access global talent, such as new hires and employees based outside the UK across their global network of offices respectively.

It is important to keep in perspective the scale of such non-EU skilled migration. Numbers are low: just 52,500 migrants entered the UK through Tier 2 in 2014 to work in the UK.

This equates to 0.0017% of the total UK workforce. These migrants supplement the largely native workforce of London businesses, rather than displacing it.

In its response London First said:

“This summer the cap has directly prevented business’s recruitment of skilled migrants, as the demand for visas outstripped supply for the first time.  Many firms, in the financial and professional services sector for example, were unable to secure visas for their new graduate intake, placing at risk whole UK based graduate programmes.

“Firms will relocate these programmes, which are often planned years in advance, out of the UK if access to their international graduates cannot be guaranteed. This would affect the positions of UK native graduates on these programmes. 

“Narrowing the salary banding for the points based mechanism would be an improvement, albeit a marginal one, and ultimately London First would like to see the cap abolished.”

The submission can be found here.

Contact: Mark Hilton, mhilton@londonfirst.co.uk

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