Reducing migrant salary cap could benefit firms like London Seamless Flat Roofing
One of Boris Johnson’s key election pledges, and therefore one of the main tasks of his government, was reforming the UK’s immigration system. To do this, alongside introducing a Global Talent visa and an “Australian-style points system”, the government commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee to provide advice and guidance on migrant salary thresholds.
In their report, which was released on 28 January, the committee argued that the current threshold should be lowered, allowing more medium-skill workers to qualify.
Currently, workers applying for a Tier 2 visa in the UK must have proof of a job offer with a minimum salary of £30,000. Under the commission’s recommendations, this would be lowered to £25,600.
According to the committee, this could help ensure that workforces can be maintained after Brexit while also boosting various sectors which are struggling with skills shortages.
Construction is one such sector.
In August 2019, the Construction Industry Training Board released their annual forecast, predicting the growth of the sector and its workforce. According to this forecast, by 2023, 168,500 new jobs will have to filled, placing increased strain on an industry already struggling with a lack of new recruits.
The need to ensure the construction sector is able to access the workforce it requires was highlighted by Rafal Drabik, managing director of London Seamless Flat Roofing. Writing in The Parliamentary Review, Mr Drabik outlined his concerns: “Many in the construction industry are concerned that after leaving the EU, we will be denied access to this vast pool of talent and will be left with a skills shortage.
“It’s important, I feel, that we have a relationship with the EU that still allows for the free exchange of labour – from which we have benefited so much over the decades.”
While the government is not bound to accept the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee, Priti Patel, the home secretary, did thank the committee for their report, saying they would carefully consider their recommendations.
“I think it’s important to recognize the British public voted for change when it came to immigration. We are committed to ensuring we have a system…that has the ability to level up across the whole of the UK in a way that immigration policy has failed for too long,” she said.