In February our policy team took part in the Home Office Employer Advisory Group on immigration. We fed in to the Government’s plans on settled status and immigration plans under a no-deal scenario.
Each month, as part of the group, we will be looking at a different aspect of the future immigration system and feeding in RECs priorities to ensure the new system works for the recruitment industry and the economy more generally.
Following the publication of the White Paper in December here are our initial thoughts, however we will be working closely with members in the coming months to develop this further. We want to ensure we have an evidence based immigration system which meets the needs of the economy, and adapts to an evolving jobs market.
Here are some of our recommendations we will be making to government during their engagement process:
Temporary short-term worker permit
- To work for both employers and workers the process must not too burdensome. We support the proposed permit system which will be held by the individual rather than by the employer and would allow workers to move between assignments.
- Migrants on the temporary short-term worker route should be able to apply for an alternative visa route while they are in the UK when their temporary visa is due to expire. This would ensure employers can progress workers who want to contribute to the UK longer term.
- To address concerns with the temporary route, the government should carefully consider the Director of Labour Market Enforcement’s strategies and allocate the extra funding for enforcement activity that he recommends as soon as possible.
- The Controlling Migration Fund should be expanded, having a wider scope and remit.
- We welcome the Government’s aim for a more straightforward, cheaper sponsorship system. The UK operates one of the most expensive visa systems in the world. Fragomen LLP have estimated this could add up to £16,069 for a Tier 2 worker with a partner and three children.
- The salary threshold should be lowered from the Migration Advisory Committee recommendation. While the REC recognises that a salary threshold needs to be in place, there is consensus from employers that the level of £30,000 is too high. We will be consulting with our members on this but this will have a negative impact on some sectors including social care.
In the event of a No-Deal Brexit we will be continuing to ask the government for clarity on:
- How employers be able to ascertain immigration status through right to work checks
- The level of the fee charged for European Temporary Leave to Remain and how to apply
- Which visa categories will it be possible for EU citizens to switch to after three years
You can read our response to the Governments whitepaper here. For further Brexit advice and guidance visit our Brexit hub www.rec.uk.com/brexit. If you would like to give further feedback on any of the above please email firstname.lastname@example.org.