UK immigration panel recommends up to 25 per cent cut in non-EU entries

UK’s Migration Advisory Committee today recommended that the number of migrant workers coming into Britain from outside EU be cut between 13-25 per cent next year.

The MAC submitted a 300-odd page report to the government in which it has said that the number of visas issued both under tier 1 and tier 2 categories in 2011-12 should be between 37,400 and 43,700, that would represent a 6,300 to 12,600 reduction over the 2009.For the Tier 1 General route, in order to achieve the Government’s policy objective, the MAC suggested a reduction in the number of entry clearance visas issued, compared to 2009, in the range of 3,150 to 6,300 and a limit on the number of Tier 1 entry clearance visas in the range of 8,000 to 11,100 in 2011-12.

For the Tier 2 shortage occupation, RLMT (resident labour market test) and intra-company transfer routes, the MAC has recommended a reduction the number of entry clearance visas issued, compared to 2009, in the range of 3,150 to 6,300 and a limit on the number of Tier 2 entry clearance visas in the range of 29,400 to 32,600 in 2011/12. This limit excludes extensions, switchers and dependants.

The MAC report sets out to answer the question raised by the the Home Secretary who wrote to the MAC Chair commissioning the following question: “At what level should limits on Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the points-based system be set for their first full year of operation in 2011/12, in order to contribute to achieving the government’s aim of reducing net migration to an annual level of tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament, and taking into account social and public service impacts as well as economic impacts?”
Submitting the report today the Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, David Metcalf, said, “It is not possible to reduce net migration to the tens of thousand by limiting work-related migration alone. The Committee assumes that work-related migration takes 20 per cent of the total cut – its fair share – which implies that family and student migration must take the other 80 per cent.”
The MAC report is only recommendatory in nature. The final decision on the exact cap imposed on non-EU immigrants will be decided by the government. The final decision is expected by end of December this year. The Conservatives, the main party in the current coalition government came to power with one of its promises being setting a cap on immigration.

Business lobby CBI, reacting to MAC recommendations tabled today said,“The committee rightly accepts that those coming to the UK with a job offer should have priority, and this has been something that businesses have consistently called for. It is also important that companies with an international operation can transfer their own staff, as required, on a temporary basis, and we would like to see these ‘Intra-Company Transfers’ exempted from the cap.”
The report submitted by UK Migration Advisory Committee today revealed that India topped as the largest source of migrants into UK under five different categories. Indians topped the list under Tier 1 General (41 per cent of total approvals), Tier 1 Post-Study Work Route (31 per cent), Tier 2 General (24 per cent) and Intra-Company (68 percent) transfers and finally Tier 2 Dependents (45 per cent). The data relates to approved applications between the first quarter of 2009 and first quarter of 2010.