• United Kingdom: Migration Advisory Committee Proposes Raising Minimum Requirements for Tier 2
  • February 16, 2011
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the United Kingdom’s independent advisor on migration issues, has recommended that the Tier 2 immigration category be restricted to occupations that are at level 4 or higher of the UK’s National Vocational Qualification standards (NVQ4+ in the report). Skill level NVQ4+ is roughly equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, though it does not strictly require a degree.

    If implemented, these proposals would increase the qualifications that foreign nationals would need to meet for Tier 2, and as a result, reduce the list of occupations that qualify for Tier 2 to 121, eliminating 71 occupations that are on the current list of 192. Currently, a Tier 2 occupation must be at level 3 of the NVQ, a lower standard.

    The MAC proposals have been anticipated for several months, since the UK government announced that, in anticipation of the forthcoming permanent immigration cap, it would limit the Tier 2 category to “graduate level” jobs effective April 1, 2011. Rather than simply recommend that Tier 2 be limited to occupations that require a bachelor’s degree, the MAC conducted an independent analysis of the UK’s occupational classification system before concluding that graduate level jobs should be those at NVQ4+. To determine which occupations reach NVQ4+, the MAC then took into account an occupation’s median salary, its formal educational qualification requirements, and its minimum skill level, as well as whether it typically involves on-the-job training or any innate abilities.

    Although the MAC recommendations are not binding on the UK government, the proposed list of occupations is likely to influence the anticipated changes to the Tier 2 category. The UK government also asked the MAC to provide a recommendation regarding whether to limit the UK’s Shortage Occupation List to occupations at a graduate level. The MAC stated that it would respond to this request at a later date.

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