MAC report: British businesses need temporary visa route to secure skills

Filed under Press release

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) today published its recommendations to government on immigration policy post Brexit. Instead of the government’s recommended £30,000, the MAC is proposing a lower income threshold of £25,600, below which a person cannot move to the UK for work. 

The MAC acknowledges that the points-based immigration system will negatively impact on industries which rely more on low skilled migration, however the report stops short of recommending a temporary worker visa to help address major skills shortages across the economy, instead suggesting it as an option open to government. 

The REC agrees with many of the recommendations but maintain there must be a temporary visa route that allows businesses to recruit the skills they need. 

The REC’s JobsOutlook survey shows that half of employers are worried about skills shortages for permanent staff – while employer confidence in the economy is at a low point. Skills shortages are especially severe among lower paid jobs such as carers, agricultural workers and drivers. 

Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, said:

“The changes to the tier 2 visa system the MAC are suggesting will help businesses succeed post-Brexit, supporting jobs and economic growth in the UK. We hope the government takes them on board. Allowing more people from medium-skilled occupations to apply, abolishing caps on numbers of workers that can come in and proposing to get rid of the resident labour market test all make sense. So does lowering the income threshold, however we think the threshold should be even lower to address the skills needs of businesses who need labour at all pay levels. 

“Skills shortages are one of the biggest problems facing the UK economy. We need a temporary visa route to allow businesses to recruit the essential skills they need at all pay levels. This would mean that workers could move into sectors and geographies where they are needed most without being tied to a particular employer. For instance, drivers can support our hospitality or retail sector depending where there is demand.”


Notes to editors:  

  1. The REC's JobsOutlook survey in December showed employer confidence in making hiring decisions hit its lowest point since mid-2016.
  2. The full MAC report can be found here

For more information, contact the REC Press Office on 020 7009 2157, 020 7009 2192 or

Click here to view all REC press releases.

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