Select Committee on Home Affairs Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Border and Immigration Agency, Home Office


  1.  Central to the design of the new system is a new five Tier framework which will cover all the main routes to work, study or train in the UK. A clear and transparent points-based approach will determine which migrants will be successful with their applications and the use of sponsors will help ensure that the system is not being abused. The Points Based System (PBS) goes live from the first quarter of 2008. The PBS will be structured in the following way:

    Tier 1: Highly skilled individuals to contribute to growth and productivity, replacing the existing schemes such as the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, Innovators and the International Graduate Scheme.

    Tier 2: Skilled workers with a job offer to fill gaps in UK labour force will replace the current Work Permit scheme. Skilled migrants coming to work in the UK under the PBS will need to pass the resident labour market test (RLMT) unless the job is a shortage occupation or above a certain salary threshold. All jobs under Tier 2 must be at a suitable skill level (National Vocational Qualification 3 equivalent and above) and the job must pay a UK appropriate salary.

    Tier 3: Low skilled workers needed to fill specific temporary labour shortages. There are no current plans to introduce this tier.

    Tier 4: Students will enter under Tier 4. All education institutions which are not publicly funded will need to be accredited by one of the BIA approved Accreditation Bodies in order to prove their bona fides and become sponsors of international students.

    Tier 5: Youth mobility and temporary workers: people allowed to work in the UK for a limited period who we would want to allow into the UK for cultural or international relations rather than principally economic reasons.


  2.  The PBS will be implemented in stages. The first stage (Tier 1) is due to be implemented in the first quarter of 2008. We will also introduce sponsorship arrangements from the first quarter of 2008, to enable employers and educational establishments to obtain a sponsorship licence in advance of Tiers 2, 4 and 5 being introduced at a later date.

    Tier 1: will begin to be implemented from the first quarter of 2008.

    Tier 2: will be launched in the third quarter of 2008.

    Tier 3: will only take effect when and if specific low-skilled labour shortages are identified, and restrictions on the employment rights of A2 nationals are lifted.

    Tier 4: will be launched in the first quarter of 2009.

    Tier 5: will be launched in the third quarter of 2008.


  3.  We are introducing the Points Based System so that those the UK needs can come to work and study. We have established an independent Migration Advisory Committee to recommend where in the economy migration is needed and where it is not. We have committed to produce detailed Impact Assessments for each of the tiers of the new system and these will be published as each tier is introduced.


  4.   Migration Advisory Committee

  The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is a non-statutory, non-time limited Non-Departmental Public Body. MAC membership will be announced shortly and the MAC will be fully operational by April

2008.The MAC Chair has been appointed: David Metcalf, Professor of Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics (LSE). The MAC will provide independent and evidence-based advice to Government on specific sectors and occupations in the labour market where shortages exist which can sensibly be filled by migration. MAC will meet quarterly and more frequently if required.

  5.   Migration Impacts Forum

  The Migration Impacts Forum (MIF) was announced on 28 March 2007. The MIF provides a forum for proper, regular and organised dialogue with front-line professionals from service providers, focussed on the wider impacts associated with migration experienced by local areas. Meetings are thematic and will bring in experts and stakeholders relating to these themes beyond the MIF's core membership as required. Areas of work include Community Cohesion; Health and Social Care; Employment and Skills; Housing; Crime and Disorder.

23 November 2007

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