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Immigration skills charge is excessive burden on employers

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has just published its recommendations on how the Government should change the Tier 2 migration route, to make it more costly and difficult for employers to bring in the expertise that they need from outside of Europe.

The key change is the new Immigration Skills Charge (ISC). Firms will have to pay £1,000 a year for each non-EU migrant they employ or move to London via intra-company transfer. That’s over and above existing visa costs.  The idea is this money will then be used to fund training of British workers, although there is no detail how this might work.

Taken alongside the apprenticeship levy that all large employers will have to pay, and the increase in minimum salaries also proposed, this additional cost burden is a real concern to business.

The Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire MP, said he was in listening mode on this and London First will of course follow up with Government.  They are, he said, trying to achieve a balance between maintaining the UK’s competitiveness and compelling business to do more to train the domestic workforce.

Positively, Sir David Metcalf, Chairman of the MAC, said he strongly supports the Intra Company Transfer route, so important to London First members who use it to move around their global employees.

London First has produced a short brief on the MAC’s proposals. We expect the Government to publicly respond to the recommendations in the next few weeks, potentially with a view to changing the immigration rules from 1st April 2016 where they accept the proposals.

It is important for London First to understand the reaction of business, in order to inform our on-going campaigning for an immigration system that supports rather than hinders London’s role as a global talent hub.

If you have any feedback, please contact Mark Hilton, hilton@londonfirst.co.uk

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