Limits On Non-EU Economic Migration

June 2010

The UK Border Agency has announced a consultation on the imposition of limits on non-EU economic migration. The consultation was opened on 28th June 2010 and will close on 17th September 2010.

The Government intends to reduce net migration to the level of the 1990s. One of the ways they intend to achieve this is through the introduction of an annual limit on the number of non-EU economic migrants admitted into the UK to live and work. 

The Home Secretary has commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise the Government on the levels at which limits should be set for the first full year. 

The consultation document asks two critical questions:- 

Firstly, how should limits be implemented – through what mechanism, and what additional actions should be taken by Government and employers to find alternatives to take on migrant labour?

Secondly, at what level should the Government set its first annual limit, taking into account the Government’s overall policy objective and the balance between economic, social and public service impacts of migration?

The Government intends to give notice of a final decision on implementation mechanisms and the level of the limit as soon as possible after the consultation closes in September and certainly by the end of the calendar year.

Interim measures

The Government has laid in Parliament Immigration Rules to raise the number of points needed to enter the UK through Tier 1 (General) of the Points Based System (PBS) and to set interim limits on Tiers 1 and 2. 

An interim limit on the number of applications for the Tier 1 (General) category will be imposed only on applications for Entry Clearance submitted outside the United Kingdom. The limit to be applied under Tier 1 (General) will be published separately by UK Border Agency on their website. 

The limit will be known as a “grant allocation” and the relevant period to which the allocation applies will be known as the “relevant grant allocation period”. It is envisaged that the limit will operate on a monthly basis.

Where an application meets all of the requirements of the Immigration Rules but granted leave would exceed the grant allocation for the relevant grant allocation period, the application will be reallocated to the next period for consideration. 

Points requirements for Tier 1 (General).

From 19th July 2010 the level of points required to meet the requirements under Tier 1 (General) will be increased to 80 points (from the current 75 for qualifications, previous earnings, UK experience and age). This increase in the threshold is designed to ensure that the application process leads to only the most meritorious being granted. 

The change to the points threshold will not apply to those who already have leave under Tier 1 (General) and are applying to extend that leave or are seeking to switch to Tier 1 (General) from one of the predecessor routes for highly skilled migrants. 

Applicants with previous earnings of £150,000.00 during the year preceding the date of application will receive a full 80 points under the previous earnings criteria thus maintaining the position that meeting this requirement alone is sufficient to meet the overall point’s threshold.

Tier 2 – Certificates of Sponsorship

UKBA will limit the number of Certificates of Sponsorship that licensed employers can issue to those who wish to come to fill skilled job vacancies. UKBA aims to reduce the number of people entering through Tier 2 by 1300.

Full details of the UKBA Consultation can be found by clicking on the link below:-

UKBA Consultation

Please contact your Magrath representative for further guidance on these changes.