MAC says: no more favours to EU migrants
The final MAC report that has been released on the 18th of September shows new evidence gathered by MAC that migrants have no or little impact on overall employment or unemployment. In fact, immigration have positive impact on productivity, innovation and training which strongly suggests that EEA migration to the UK has a positive impact to the UK economy.
The MAC recommended that there should be a less restrictive regime for higher-skilled workers than for lower-skilled workers in a system where there is no preference for EEA over non-EEA workers. Therefore, if Tier 2 (General) is introduced to cover EEA citizens MAC recommended the following:
- Abolition of the Tier 2 (General) cap.
- Medium-skilled jobs should be eligible for Tier (2) General not just high- skilled jobs as at present.
- The salary threshold at £30,000 should be retained even though we recommend expanding the list of eligible occupations. This would allow employers to hire migrants into medium-skills jobs but would also require employers to pay salaries that place greater upward pressure on earnings in the sector.
- The Immigration Skills Charge should also cover EEA citizens.
- Abolition of the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT). A robust approach to the salary thresholds and the Immigration Skill Charge are a better way to protect UK workers against the dangers of employers using migrant workers to under-cut UK-born.
- In-country ability to change employers should be made easier for Tier 2 migrants.
This change would introduce varied migration towards higher- skilled workers and more flexibility for medium-skilled workers. Many employers would benefit from a Tier 2 system, however, the end of free movement would diminish low-skilled migration. It seems that to make it fair, if free movement is abolished, all migration will have to be managed equally without giving any preference to EU nationals.
Author: Vaida Lukaite