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Employers to be charged £1,000 for employing skilled migrants

The Government has set out its aims to cut the flow of skilled migrants to the UK by 20% a year, by imposing a £1,000 skills levy in relation to all migrants recruited from outside Europe.

The skills levy is part of a package recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent, public body that has been tasked with providing evidence-based advice to the Government on migration issues.

The proposals, which are aimed at squeezing the recruitment of skilled labour from outside Europe (estimated at 151,000 migrants per annum in 2014), also include an increase in the minimum salary threshold for skilled workers from £20,800 to £30,000.

MAC “strongly” supports the introduction of these new levies, which they believe would have reduced the arrival of approximately 28,000 migrants to the UK in 2014. They propose that the upfront charge on each skilled migrant would apply per year, so a three-year visa would carry a surcharge of £3,000. The package also includes restrictions on “intra-company transfers” which would limit the use to senior managers and specialists by raising the minimum salary for visas to £41,500.

MAC have estimated that these combined levies could raise £250 million, which would go towards training British-based workers in UK firms. However, whilst the proposals may incentivise some employers to invest in training British workers, it is anticipated that the scheme will hit teachers and NHS nurses the hardest.

The proposals will now be considered by the Government, but it is widely anticipated that they will be endorsed.


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