• Migration Advisory Committee Advises on Permanent Residence, Family-based Migration; Work Permit Requirements Extended for Romanians and Bulgarians
  • December 2, 2011
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), the UK’s independent advisor on migration issues, recommends in two new reports a minimum salary requirement for skilled foreign workers seeking permanent residence and an increase to the minimum income thresholds for sponsored family members. The UK will extend work permit requirements for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals for two more years, based on a Committee recommendation.

    Permanent Residence Some Tier 2 Workers: The MAC recommended setting a minimum annual salary between £31,000 and £49,000 for foreign nationals working in the UK under Tier 2 of the Points Based System to qualify for permanent residence. In June, the MAC was asked for recommendations on how permanent residence could be restricted for Tier 2 workers.

    Minimum Income Levels for Family Members: The MAC recommended the government set a minimum salary between £18,600 and £25,700 for British citizens or permanent residents seeking to sponsor dependent family members for immigration benefits. They also recommended the government raise the current minimum salary for those sponsoring a parent. In July, the MAC was asked to provide advice on what minimum income thresholds would avoid family members becoming a burden on the State.

    Work Restrictions for Romanian and Bulgarian Workers: Bulgarian and Romanian nationals will continue to be subject to the UK’s pre-Points Based System work permit requirements until the end of 2013, the UK Border Agency announced after considering the MAC’s finding that eliminating these requirements would seriously disturb the UK labor market. When Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, member countries were allowed to maintain work restrictions for nationals of both countries as transitional measures but could only extend them beyond 2011 if their elimination would adversely disturb the domestic labor market.

    What the MAC’s Recommendations Mean for Employers

    While not binding, the MAC report will likely carry significant influence in any upcoming changes for Tier 2 of Points Based System. In the past, the Home Office has acted on MAC recommendations in one to three months.

    Each of these reports could have implications for employers, particularly as the MAC conducts its review of Tier 2 of the Points Based System. For example, if the UK Border Agency were to adopt the MAC’s recommended minimum annual salary for Tier 2 workers seeking permanent residence, these workers would not be able to reside and work in the country beyond five years unless they met the minimum salary requirement.