Migration Advisory Committee milestones
This page lists some key events for the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) since the formation of the current government in May 2010. For information about the MAC's earlier milestones, see the How the MAC was established page.
London weighting (August 2010)
In March 2010, the previous UK government asked the MAC to report on whether London weighting should be excluded from the points-based system to ensure that regional wage differences across the UK were appropriately reflected in the points allocated to earnings.
London weighting is paid by some employers as a supplement to basic salary, to reflect a job's London location. Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system award points for previous or prospective salary. Additions to pay labelled as London weighting are included within that points calculation.
The MAC report, published in August 2010, advised that it was appropriate to continue regarding London weighting as part of earnings for the purposes of the points-based system.
First annual limits on economic immigration under Tiers 1 and 2 (November 2010)
On 28 June 2010, the government announced a consultation on limiting economic migration by nationals of countries outside the European Union, through Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system. It consulted on how those limits should be implemented, including the mechanism for doing so.
At the same time the Home Secretary wrote to the MAC Chair asking 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?'
To develop its advice, the MAC met more than 1,000 representatives of interested parties, and launched its own consultation on 30 June. This consultation ran until 7 September, and received more than 400 responses.
On 18 November 2010, the MAC published its report to the government on the level for 2011/12 of the annual limits under Tiers 1 and 2. It also published the outcome of a number of research projects. The report's publication was announced in a press release (PDF 65KB opens in a new window).
On 23 November the government announced the level of the annual limit on Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system for 2011/12. In response, the MAC chair said:
'We welcome the use of our analysis that the government has made in developing its policy. Although not all of the MAC's suggestions have been adopted, the government package takes on board the need, emphasised in our report, to improve the selectivity of the points-based system. The plans to strengthen the criteria for Tier 1, attract investors and entrepreneurs and give preference to the most highly skilled intra-company transferees will all help to ensure that, in the context of limits of migration, those who have the most to contribute will still be able to work in the UK.'
Graduate-level occupations for Tier 2 (February/March 2011)
In November 2010, the government announced that it intended to raise the minimum skill level for jobs under Tier 2 from National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 3 to graduate level. The following month, the government asked the MAC to advise on the following questions:
'1. What standard occupational classification (SOC) codes should be considered as graduate-level occupations for the purposes of Tier 2 of the points-based system?
'2. How should the current shortage occupation lists for the UK and Scotland be revised to remove jobs below graduate level?'
(For this commission, graduate level referred to NVQ level 4.)
The second of these questions allowed the MAC to identify specific job titles on the current shortage occupation lists as being skilled to graduate level, even if the broader occupation was not skilled to that level. The MAC therefore considered appropriate benchmarks that could be used to identify graduate-level jobs within non-graduate-level occupations on the current shortage occupation lists.
The MAC was not asked to assess shortage in relation to graduate-level occupations or job titles, nor whether it was sensible to fill shortages using labour from outside the European Economic Area.
On 7 February 2011, the MAC published a report recommending certain occupations to be identified at NQF level 4 and above for the purposes of Tier 2. This answered question 1 above.
New UK Commission for Employment and Skills representative (May 2011)
On 12 May 2011, Mark Spilsbury became the new representative of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) on the MAC, replacing Mike Campbell OBE.
Mark is the Chief Economist at the UKCES. You can read more about him on the Committee members' biographies page.
Tier 2 shortage occupation list - full review of the UK labour market (September 2011)
In March 2011, the government commissioned the MAC to review the UK labour market, in order to recommend occupations and job titles to be added to and removed from the Tier 2 UK and Scotland shortage occupation lists.
The MAC was asked to consider the following question:
'In which occupation(s) or job title(s) skilled to National Qualifications Framework level 4 or above is there a shortage of labour that it would be sensible to fill using labour from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)?'
On 12 September, the MAC published its report to the government, recommending changes to the shortage occupation list under Tier 2 of the points-based system.
Transitional restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania (November 2011)
In 2011, the government was due to review the UK's immigration restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals. Under the provisions of the Treaty on Accession, those restrictions could be continued until the end of 2013 in the event of serious labour market disturbance.
In June 2011, the government asked the MAC to address the following question:
'Is there a serious disturbance, or threat of such a disturbance, to the UK labour market and would maintaining the existing restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals' access to the labour market assist in addressing any such disturbance or threat?'
The MAC did not issue a formal call for evidence on this question, but sought input from certain individuals and bodies with an interest.
On 4 November, the MAC published its report to the government addressing the issue.
Employment-related settlement (November 2011)
In June 2011, the government launched a consultation on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement. As part of this work, it asked the MAC to advise on the economic effects of restricting or removing settlement rights under Tiers 1 and 2, and the criteria that could be used to identify the most economically important Tier 2 migrants.
On 4 November, the MAC published its report to the government on how to determine which skilled migrant workers can settle in the UK.
Family migration (November 2011)
In July 2011, the government issued a consultation on the family migration route. At the same time, it asked the MAC to address the following question:
'What should the minimum income threshold be for sponsoring spouses/partners and dependants in order to ensure that the sponsor can support his/her spouse or civil or other partner and any dependants independently without them becoming a burden on the State.'
The MAC did not issue a formal call for evidence on this question, but undertook targeted corporate partner engagement.
On 16 November, the MAC published a report on the minimum income requirement for sponsorship under the family migration route.
Labour market impacts of migration (January 2012)
In May 2011, the government asked the MAC to 'research the labour market, social and public service impacts of non-EEA migration; and to advise on the use of such evidence in cost-benefit analyses of migration policy decisions'.
This work would feed in to the development of future assessments of the impacts of changes to immigration policy.
The MAC did not issue a formal call for evidence on this question, but undertook targeted corporate partner and academic engagement.
On 10 January 2012, the MAC published a report that addressed this question. It also published 6 external research reports, which it had commissioned to inform the above work. The views expressed in these reports reflect those of the contractors and not necessarily those of the MAC. The MAC report and the external research reports are available on the Analysis of the impacts of migration page.