The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has today recommended measures to make it harder for businesses to recruit skilled workers from outside the EU, including increased salary thresholds, a £1,000 levy on employers, and longer qualifying periods for intra-company transfers. Simon Walker, Director General of the Institute of Directors, urged the Government to dismiss the proposals, which would damage business while doing little to reduce overall migration:
“The MAC’s proposals will hurt thousands of individual firms, which will find it harder to bring in the skilled workers in areas like IT, where we have shortages. Coming on top of the new apprenticeship levy, and the national living wage, the new tax on recruiting from overseas will pile further costs on businesses.
“The salary thresholds are particularly short-sighted, as they would block valuable employees like engineers, while not catching high-earning bankers or lawyers. It is likely to be the public sector which suffers most, as the thresholds make it harder to recruit much-needed nurses and teachers from abroad.
“Even so, as the Committee admits, these plans would only make a ‘modest’ contribution to cutting overall net migration. Instead, this will send a message around the world that the UK is no longer open to international talent.”