Immigration Alert: Migration Advisory Committee Publishes its recommendations on the revised Tier 2 Codes of Practice

18 October 2012

On 17 October, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its recommendations in relation to the revised Tier 2 Codes of Practice, appropriate salary levels and advertising requirements.

In order to sponsor a migrant under Tier 2 of the Points Based System, employers are required to map their migrant roles to job titles listed in the codes of practice; the current codes were updated in June this year and a link to these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. The relevant codes for Tier 2 are those which are classified as graduate level roles (NQF 6+). These codes have been reviewed by the MAC, along with the commensurate salary levels and advertising requirements.

The MAC has produced a revised list of 97 occupations skilled to NQF 6+ and it has published this new list in its latest report at Table 8.1 on pages 126-134. You will see that some job titles have changed and some new occupations have been added. Furthermore, it has recommended a two tier salary banding for each job code; either New Entrant or Experienced Worker. The MAC is proposing that the New Entrant salaries stipulated are appropriate for those migrants who left full-time education less than three years ago and for any migrant undertaking a graduate training programme. If this recommendation is accepted by the government, this will significantly assist many employers who have thus far struggled to meet the high salary levels stipulated in the current codes for some of their graduate migrants and those undertaking training programmes.

One potential issue for employers though is that when it comes to extending the visa, employers may need to meet the experienced worker salary level, which could require a significant pay rise.

With regard to advertising, the MAC has made some pragmatic recommendations by stating that the advertising codes of practice should not be unduly prescriptive in terms of where the employer should advertise the role and is recommending that employers be permitted to insert ‘competitive salary’ in their advertisements where it is normal practice within a given sector. This would leave the decision on where to advertise to employers, subject to retaining the current stipulations which include ensuring that the advertisement reaches a nationwide audience and is placed for 28 days. The MAC is also recommending that the government should review the current requirement for employers to advertise on Job Centre Plus, based on feedback received from employers that it is not much used for matching skilled workers with graduate vacancies.

It is to be hoped that the government follows these recommendations as a modernisation of the codes of practice was long overdue. As always, we will keep you updated on developments in this area.

For more information, please contact a member of the immigration team.

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