The Migration Advisory Committee has today published a report which recommends that it should be easier for higher-skilled workers to migrate to the country.
The report called for the Government scrap the limit on highly-skilled workers altogether – currently 20,700 each year from non-EU countries under the Tier 2 visa scheme.
The MAC inquiry was set up by former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, with the intention of setting out a possible migration system for the UK following Brexit and assessing the impact in EEA migration on the UK.
In the event the UK has complete control over the future migration system, the report recommends:
- EU and non EU migrants should be treated under the same rules
- The UK should be less restrictive in the rules for high-skilled migrants than lower-skilled workers, not least because the former contribute more to the public services
- Abolish the cap for “tier 2” or skilled workers, but keep the existing £30,000 salary threshold needed before someone can apply for a visa.
- No need for a loosening of the scheme for low skilled workers, except for seasonal agricultural workers. The report says: “We know that some sectors will lobby intensively against the proposal”.
The MAC did not express a view on whether immigration should be part of the negotiations with the EU. The Home Office has said that they will “carefully consider” the recommendations.
TIGA responded to the MAC’s consultation earlier this year. It outlined a range of potential options, including:
- reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers in the video games industry;
- a general reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers with a job offer;
- approximately 1,500 Work Permits per annum for the UK video games industry;
- add roles (e.g. Games Analyst and Engine Programmer) to the Shortage Occupation List where there is a specific skills shortage so that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay;
- ensure that any new immigration arrangements are not complex or costly for business; and
- introduce a fast track visa programme for roles on the Shortage Occupation List.
Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive of TIGA, said:
“We welcome the Committee’s recommendation to remove the cap on Tier 2 visas. TIGA has long called for reform to the Tier 2 visa regime to make it easier for businesses to recruit the best and brightest talent wherever they are from.
“We hope that the Government listens to the MAC and looks again at Tier 2 visas. Video games developers compete on the skills of their workers against companies from Asia, Europe and North America, making it important to have easy access to skilled workers from the EU, EEA and beyond.”