Out-Law Analysis | 17 Sep 2019 | 4:42 pm | 5 min. read
The MAC is also seeking public views to inform two pieces of work it is currently carrying out for the UK government around its planned overhaul of the UK immigration system from 2021. The MAC plays an important role in recommending changes to UK immigration policy, and we expect the immigration white paper published by Theresa May's government in late 2018 to be amended, if not completely rewritten.
Former home secretary Sajid Javid previously confirmed that the government would be implementing all the changes to the shortage occupation list recommended by the MAC.
The new shortage occupation list will kick in for certificates of sponsorship assigned on/after 6 October 2019. Broadly, the list is being expanded although some roles have been removed.
Roles being added to the UK-wide shortage occupation list include:
Archaeologists under the social and humanities scientists code were expected to be added to the list but have not been.
The following roles have been removed from the UK-wide shortage occupation list:
A number of changes to the shortage occupation list will apply in Scotland only:
Chartered architectural technologists will be classed as sufficiently skilled for Tier 2 sponsorship from 6 October.
PhD roles will be removed from the Tier 2 General annual cap with effect from 1 October 2019, and so will no longer require restricted certificates of sponsorship. This is to signal that the UK welcomes researchers and other highly skilled individuals.
As of 1 October, migrants in PhD-level roles may undertake research overseas directly related to their Tier 2 employment without such absences counting when they are assessed for settlement.
Absences from work: From 1 October, Tier 2 migrants will not penalised when seeking settlement for absences from work due to sickness, statutory parental leave, assistance in a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis or legal strike. The rules already cater for maternity, paternity, shared parental or adoption leave.
Professional sportspeople: As of 1 October, the 'professional sportsperson' definition is being amended to clarify that Tier 4 students studying at degree level or above at a higher education provider are permitted to play or coach sport as an amateur whilst in receipt of a sports scholarship, or if doing so as part of a work placement being undertaken as an integral and assessed part of their course.
Tier 4 students: As of 1 October, Tier 4 students studying at degree level or above will be permitted to apply to switch into Tier 2 within three months of the expected end date of their course, to facilitate them taking up skilled work in the UK after completion of their studies. They will be able to commence work with their Tier 2 sponsor if they have applied to switch within three months of the expected end date of their course.
Post-study work: News last week about the return of post-study work visas for students will be welcomed by many employers. The government has committed to bringing this visa into place for students starting higher education in the 2020-21 academic year.
Looking ahead to the planned overhaul of the UK's immigration system from 2021, the government has commissioned the MAC to look at two areas. The MAC has undertaken to respond to the government in January 2020, which is a tight timescale.
On 24 June, then-home secretary Sajid Javid commissioned the MAC to carry out an in-depth analysis of potential future salary thresholds and the range at which they could be set. The MAC had previously recommended that the current Tier 2 salary thresholds be retained and that regional variations should not be implemented.
Boris Johnson has made numerous comments about introducing an 'Australian-style points-based system' to the UK. In response, home secretary Priti Patel revised Javid's commission to also instruct the MAC to "conduct a review of the Australian immigration system and similar systems to advise on what best practice can be used to strengthen the UK labour market and attract the best and brightest from around the world".
MAC has asked users of the points-based system for their views by 5 November 2019. It is particularly keen to receive evidence of potential regional variations in salary thresholds; potential exceptions to salary thresholds, including for shortage occupations; what allowances, if any, to make for part-time workers; how to deal with jobs of high public value but lower wages; and how points could be awarded to applications for attributes such as education, language proficiency, and willingness to work in areas/sectors with a shortage of workers.
Joanne Hennessy is an immigration law expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.
12 Sep 2019
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