We are a broad coalition of trade, business and education bodies campaigning for a fair and managed immigration system to keep us open to the workers the UK economy needs to thrive.
The Government has set out its vision for the UK as a global powerhouse beyond the transition period. As part of this, it is rethinking the shape of the UK immigration system and how to successfully operate a points-based system.
Businesses welcome the Government’s plans to create a flexible system that supports our global ambitions and attracts high-skilled talent.
Employers across the economy are doing a lot to invest in skills and training but many roles are still going unfilled locally as there is a labour shortage. To keep the economy at #FullStrength, employers need an immigration system that can fill vacancies across all skills levels.
To deliver the Government’s ambitious domestic agenda, we need to be open to talent at all levels via a flexible points-based system which includes:
A two-year temporary work route
The temporary work route should be extended to up to two years, with workers able to switch onto other routes such as a skilled visa while in the UK if they qualify;
A lowered salary threshold
If the Government chooses to continue to use salary thresholds, it must be lowered to around £20,000 to bring it in line with the proposed skills threshold and the labour market.
A freelance route as part of Tier 1
Ensure Tier 1 works for high impact talent including freelancers, self-contracted workers, scientists and tech experts, sponsored by endorsing bodies;
A streamlined system
An easier and cheaper sponsorship system with reduced bureaucracy to make it simpler for business of all sizes to use. Quicker turnaround times for visas. Endorsing bodies able to sponsor freelancers and self-employed workers.
In January, the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee issued its report with recommendations on the shape of the UK’s future immigration system. Ahead of the MAC report, we took 148 uniforms, from healthcare, construction, transport and more, to the streets of London to highlight the 148,000 vital roles currently held by EU workers in the capital that could go unfilled if the salary threshold is set at £30,000.
Eight tests for a fair and managed approach to immigration
The reforms we call for below can all work within the framework of a points-based system: our coalition stands ready to work with the Government to make this a success. We all want the UK to flourish and to build a workforce of the future that can convert this vision into reality. International talent has a role to play here and it is vital that we create an attractive system that supports our global ambitions.
We believe that a fair and managed immigration system must meet eight tests
An extended temporary work route: The temporary work route should be extended to up to two years with reciprocal cooling-off periods that match the length of time a foreign worker spends in the UK. To aid progression and integration workers should be able to switch from this route into other routes, such as the skilled visa while they’re in the UKif they qualify;
A lowered salary threshold: The skilled visa (current Tier 2) salary threshold should be lowered in line with the change in the skills threshold (now RQF3) and fall to around £20,000. This would also more closely resemble labour market realities in many sectors;
A streamlined system: An easier and cheaper sponsorship system with reduced bureaucracy to make it simpler for business of all sizes to use. Quicker turnaround times for visas. Endorsing bodies able to sponsor freelancers and self-employed workers;
A freelance route as part of Tier 1: Ensure Tier 1 works for high impact talent including freelancers, self-contracted workers, scientists and tech experts, sponsored by endorsing bodies;
Business visitors: Enable business visitors access to undertake paid engagements for up to 90 days. Create a streamlined application process for all business visitors allowing for multiple contract engagements and repeat visits during their stay;
(Government confirmed: Sept, 2019) A reinstated two-year post-study work visa: A two-year post-study work visa should be reinstated for all international students, undergraduate level and above;
A recognition of the benefit of Youth Mobility: Maintain the current youth mobility visa and extend it so that citizens from both the EU and beyond can use it;
A dynamic shortage occupation list: The shortage occupation list should be a strategic and fast-track system to meet labour needs in all skills categories where there are critical shortages in fast growing and long-term growth areas. The SOL should not be used as the main mechanism in the immigration system for meeting employer demand for labour.