The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that the four Tier 1 highly skilled migration routes (i.e., the general, post-study work, entrepreneur and investor routes) of the UK's points based immigration system should be maintained.
The Government's objective for Tier 1 is to attract and retain people who will increase the skills and knowledge of the UK workforce, while maintaining the flexibility of the UK labour market.
For the general route, MAC recommends:
- people with an undergraduate degree as their highest qualification should be
allowed in under the general route, subject to high previous
- the points available under the general route should be
updated to ensure that only the most highly skilled immigrants are
- the initial leave to remain entitlement under the general
route should be reduced from three to two years, with a three year
extension subject to evidence that the individual is in highly skilled
- the Government rapidly and thoroughly review the salary multipliers used to
convert prior earnings from outside the UK into a UK equivalent; &
- the UK Border Agency consider the operational feasibility of an employer acting as a guarantor for an individual's maintenance requirement.
For the post-study work route, MAC recommends:
- the Government carry out research into the economic returns of studying at
particular educational institutions and for particular degree subjects in the
- the grant of leave under this route remain at its current level of two years.
For the entrepreneur route, MAC recommends:
- the UK Border Agency dedicate sufficient resources to examine whether jobs created by individuals represent a genuine net increase in jobs.
MAC chairman Professor David Metcalf, said:
"The highly skilled route of the points based system is very important to the UK economy. Therefore, it should be maintained and improved in order to ensure that the UK continues to attract the brightest and best.
"We are clear, however, that Tier 1 migrants must not displace or undercut UK workers. Immigration should not serve as a disincentive to employers to invest in training to improve the skills of workers in Britain.
"The recommendations that we have made will ensure that the system is robust enough to deal with the changing global economy and that the UK remains attractive for foreign investment."
It is now for the Government to decide whether and when to accept these recommendations, as well as the timescales for implementation.
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