What is the news? The Migration Advisory Committee released its report containing recommendations for the U.K.’s immigration system following its exit from the European Union and the conclusion of the transitional period on Dec. 31, 2020. The report covers the points-based system and salary thresholds.

Key Recommendations:

Points-Based System

The MAC recommends retaining the Tier 2 (General) route for skilled workers with a job offer, introducing a route for skilled workers without a job, and a review of the settlement criteria before raising settlement salary thresholds. Each of the three recommendations are summarized below.

Skilled workers with a job offer

  • The Tier 2 (General) route should be retained for skilled workers who are sponsored by a U.K. employer, and eligible roles should include both medium-skilled workers and high-skilled workers.
  • The salary threshold for this route would be reduced to approximately £25,600 (from the current £30,000).

Skilled workers without a job offer

  • A route for skilled workers without a job offer should modify or replace the Tier 1 (Exceptional) route.
  • This route would use an expression-of-interest system in which individuals may register their interest in working in the U.K. and be awarded points based on characteristics such as qualifications, age and study in the U.K. The number of points awarded for various characteristics would be consistent with the types of skills the government wants to attract such as qualifications in STEM or other innovative fields.
  • The government would conduct monthly drawings of the highest point earners from the pool of candidates and invite selected candidates to apply for a visa.
  • The government should place an annual cap on this route.


  • The government should pause the proposed increase to the settlement income threshold.
  • Occupations that are on the Shortage Occupation List should continue to be exempt from the general threshold for settlement.
  • The current U.K. settlement system has inflexible requirements (income threshold and five years of residency) and may need to be reformed following a review of settlement criteria.

Salary Thresholds

  • The salary threshold should be set at approximately £25,600.
  • For new entrants, a simplified salary threshold should be used, which would be approximately £17,920.
  • Salary thresholds should be based on regular salary allowances; equity and employer pension contributions should not be included.
  • A national threshold should be used, rather than geographical thresholds.

Background: The MAC published its report in response to the U.K. government’s request for its recommendations on salary thresholds and examination of points-based systems. It is hoped that the recommendations will assist in the creation of the U.K.’s national immigration system, which is scheduled to come into force on Jan. 1, 2021.

Analysis & Comments: The MAC’s recommendations provide some predictability in retaining the Tier 2 (General) route and the existing framework for salary thresholds. While the government is not legally bound by the MAC report, it will take the recommendations into consideration, which will likely influence its policymaking.

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