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    MAC report released on immigration system post-Brexit

    Tuesday 28 January sees the release of the latest Home Office Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on ‘A points-based system and salary thresholds for immigration’.

    With a view to working out how the UK’s immigration system might look after Brexit, the MAC’s report does not recommend a full shift to an Australian-style points-based system.

    The committee instead recommends a mixed system. It would rely on a minimum salary threshold for people coming to the UK with a job offer, and a points-based system for those coming to the UK without a pre-arranged job. They also advise improved monitoring of the immigration system to be able to assess whether the new system is working.

    The report responds to the request from the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to the MAC to consider how a points-based immigration system could be introduced in the UK to strengthen the UK labour market.

    CPC migration strand co-leader, Professor Jackie Wahba, is one of six independent MAC members who contributed to the report. The MAC’s remit is to provide transparent, independent and evidence-based advice to the government on migration issues, although the government is not required to accept the committee’s recommendations.

    The MAC also reviewed salary thresholds for the future immigration system, proposing different thresholds subject to the worker’s job, with more highly paid occupations having higher thresholds. They propose reducing the existing salary threshold to £25,600 to make it easier for teachers, NHS employees and people at the start of their careers to qualify. The recommendations could mean that skilled migrants who come to the UK to take up a job would be allowed to earn £4,400 less than the current £30,000 threshold.

    Professor Alan Manning, chair of the migration advisory committee, said: “Our recommendations are likely to reduce future growth of the UK population and economy compared to freedom of movement, by using skill and salary thresholds. We estimate very small increases in GDP per capita and productivity, slightly improved public finances, slightly reduced pressures on the NHS, schools and on social housing, though slightly increased pressure on social care.

    “No perfect system exists and there are unavoidable, difficult trade-offs. The largest impacts will be in low-wage sectors and the government needs to be clear about its plans for lower-skilled work migration.

    “The government should ensure that the mistakes of previous UK points-based systems are not repeated.”

    Alongside the publication of the report, Professor Manning also agreed to extend his current term as chair of the MAC to the end of February 2020 “to help respond to any questions in relation to the report.”

    As well as CPC member Professor Wahba, the other members of the MAC are:

    •Professor Alan Manning (chairman)
    •Madeleine Sumption
    •Dr Jennifer C. Smith
    •Paul Regan (ex-officio member, Home Office)
    •Dr Brian Bell
    •Professor Jo Swaffield

    To find out more about the committee’s findings and recommendations, read Professor Manning’s letter to the Home Secretary introducing the report, and read the reports ‘A Points-Based System and Salary Thresholds for Immigration: report’ and ‘The fiscal contribution of EU migrants - update and scenario analysis: Oxford Economics report’.

    You can watch Professor Wahba in action on the CPC YouTube channel, discussing migration as part of the 2018 University of Southampton migration lecture series:

    Posted 28/01/2020 11:22