We are a broad coalition of trade, business and education bodies who campaigned together for a fair and managed immigration system. Now that we have left the EU, we are supporting the implementation of the new system and monitoring its gaps.
The Government has reimagined the immigration rules with the aim of creating a flexible system that will support our global ambitions and attract 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, it is critical that the implementation of the new system is monitored and emerging gaps addressed.
Our #FullStrength campaign shaped the new system but there is more to be done, as it remains vital to introduce greater flexibility:
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 2020, 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. The salary threshold has since been lowered.
We set out eight tests for a fair and managed approach to immigration:
While many of these have been adopted as part of the new system, there remains a need for greater flexibility so that the system can adapt to the needs of a post-pandemic UK:
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;
WINA 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;
WIN — TBC 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;
WINA 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;
WIN — TBCBusiness 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;
WIN(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.