The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its final report on .....

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has published its final report on the impact of European Economic Area (EEA) migrants on a range of areas. MAC outlines its conclusions and recommendations for the UK government, largely focussed on their projection of what the UK immigration system will look like if it was drawn up in complete isolation from the EU. Lawyers from OTS Solicitors, Bates, Wells, Braithwaite, and Ganguin Samartin comment on MAC’S assessments.
MAC determined that there is no evidence that EEA migration resulted in lowered job opportunities for those born in the UK, on average and that there is no evidence that EAA migration has reduced wages for those born in the UK, on average. Stephen Slater, senior caseworker and in-house advocate at OTS Solicitors states that the government is not able to grasp the structural weakness of the UK labour market and that the domestic labour is ‘ just not big enough to make good the steepest fall in net EU migration since records began’.One of the key recommendations made by MAC in its report is that the UK government should shift towards a system that provides no preferential access to EU citizens—unless the UK includes migration within its negotiations with the EU, where concessions for EU citizens may materialise. Chetal Patel, partner at Bates, Wells, Braithwaite, commends the MAC recommendation and states that she is hopeful that, ‘we see an immigration system that is easier to navigate’.MAC recommends that if a migration policy encouraging higher-skilled migrants over lower-skilled migrants is chosen, then actions should be taken to ease the administrative burden on those higher-skilled migrants in efforts to not dissuade them from applying to the scheme. Patel states that, though a less restrictive regime for higher-skilled workers will be welcomed by businesses, it is disappointing that MAC has concluded that ‘there is no need for a work-related scheme for lower-skilled workers’ and Patel expects this recommendation might rankle some sectors.Vanessa Ganguin, senior partner at Ganguin Samartin, finds the recommendation very disappointing due to there being a ‘potential lack of scaffolding for the lower-skilled jobs, which typically are not filled by resident workers’.Concerning Tier 2 employers, MAC recommends that:

• there should be no changes to the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) category

• the Tier 2 (General) category should continue to be based on employer sponsorship and should inform migration policy based on skills

• further research into the administrative requirements for Tier 2 (General) is necessary if free movement ceases

• the skills threshold should be lowered from RQF/NQF level 6 to RQF/NQF level 3 if the Tier 2 (General) is extended to cover EEA nationals

• in-country employer transfers should be made easier for Tier 2 migrants

• no cap should be applied to Tier 2—salary thresholds and level of the Immigration Skills Charge may control migration numbers

Ganguin finds the recommendations concerning Tier 2 (General) encouraging due to it being, ‘more flexible by opening up the skills threshold and removing the cap on Tier 2 (General) migration.’

Patel believes that these recommendations will make life easier for employers who are sponsor licence holders easier and also require a number of employers to become part of the sponsor licence regime. Patel states that it is hoped that, ‘this will widen the recruitment pool for candidates as workers will see that the UK is open for business’.

Source: Report: EEA migration in the UK: Final repor

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