Industry bodies ACE and CECA have welcomed a report by the Migration Advisory Committee on a points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration.
The report focuses on the UK’s future skills-based work migration system once the Brexit transition period ends, and makes recommendations around the possible role of a points-based immigration system and the appropriate level and design of salary thresholds.
The report notably recommended for those with an existing job offer:
- A decrease in the salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600 on the general work visa;
- An expansion of the general work visa to include many construction skills;
- The salary requirements for new entrants to be reduced and to allow for workers to achieve recognised qualifications.
Hannah Vickers, chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), said: “In expanding the Tier 2 visa route to include more skills, and in reducing the salary threshold from £30k to £25.6k, the committee has listened to the considered views of ACE and others and has created a flexible system that meets the needs of the construction industry.
“These recommendations will give the sector the breathing space to modernise and expand its own workforce, crucial if the industry is to deliver an expanded public investment programme, including ambitious new housing targets and major infrastructure investments, which we expect to be announced at the Budget in March.
“We look forward to the government implementing these recommendations and working collaboratively address the skills challenges our industry faces. Migrant workers have long played a key role in the UK’s construction sector and the MAC’s recommendations will ensure that employers will continue to benefit from the vital skills and experience they provide.”
Marie-Claude Hemming, director of external affairs for the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said: “The conclusions and recommendations of this report demonstrate that the needs of the construction sector have been heard by the committee.
“We anticipate that if these recommendations are adopted by government, a number of construction companies will still be able to find the skills they need to deliver the world class infrastructure our country so desperately needs.
“We express some concern that the ‘low-skilled’ route is not discussed as part of the review, and that the Shortage Occupation List will not be reviewed until a new migration system has embedded, but recognise that further analysis is needed by industry to fully understand the impact of these proposed changes.”