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UK Immigration: Tier 2 Work Visas

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This week, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published a on the workings of of the UK's points based immigration system.

The report recommends that the earnings thresholds for gaining points should be raised, jobs should be advertised within the UK for longer and the arrangements for intra-company transfers should be strengthened.  Strong monitoring and enforcement of Tier 2 is also required.

About Tier 2

Under Tier 2, sponsored skilled workers from outside the EU can work in the UK provided there are no British workers available to do the same job.  Basically, the worker comes to the UK to fill a skills gap in the British workforce.

'Working well'

Chair of the MAC, Professor David Metcalf said:

"The committee thinks that Tier 2 is working well, but our advice to the Government is that the labour market could be helped by requiring higher standards from skilled workers outside of the EU before we allow them to work in the UK."

The report's main findings

The structure of Tier 2 is, as a whole, well designed for achieving its economic aims and for encouraging immigration to adjust to changing demand over the economic cycle.  The MAC does not consider that it needs to be substantially revised in light of the recession.  

The MAC recommends that all routes in Tier 2 remain in place.  However, it does recommend that some changes are made and that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) consider whether there are enough resources devoted to enforcement and the penalties for employers are sufficient.

It also made the following recommendations with regard to the design and operation of Tier 2:

  • Award masters degrees 15 points in Tier 2, instead of the current 10 points
  • Introduce minimum earnings for workers outside the EU of at least £20,000; workers without qualifications must earn at least £32,000
  • Improve the education accreditation system to better determine equivalency between foreign qualifications and NVQ level 3, a bachelors degree, and masters degree
  • Establish a new category for key public service workers, with an added 5 points

Additional Information & Advice

You can obtain further information about immigration on .

Depending on the circumstances of your case, however, it may be better to speak with a solicitor who specialises in law.  You can be for free via solicitor matching services, which can also help you to understand the best course of action for your situation and whether you are ready to hire a solicitor.

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