The House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee published its report on immigration and skill shortages on 26 February. The Government responded to its conclusions and recommendations on 1 March.
Below are some key messages from the Government's response.
- It is still considering the Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC's) report on Tier 2.
- The limit of 20,700 certificates of sponsorship will not be increased in line with demand during this Parliament.
- Although shortage and PhD-level occupations are prioritised, the "MAC's most recent report reaffirms its view that pay is the most transparent and objective measure of an employee's economic value".
- The Government has noted the MAC's and Committee's recommendation that PhD-level occupations remain a priority.
- The Government has no plans to reintroduce a post-study work visa.
- In relation to including students in net migration figures: "International students who stay for longer than 12 months, like other migrants, have an impact on communities, infrastructure and services while they are here. We note that the latest ONS figures show a 93,000 gap between the numbers of students immigrating and emigrating over the last year, contributing significantly to the net migration total."
- In response to concerns about the impact on recruitment to graduate training schemes: "The MAC, in their report published on 19 January, did not recommend that the Government exempt certificates of sponsorship for graduate training schemes from the Tier 2 limit. Rather, the MAC recommends that new entrants recruited to graduate schemes under Tier 2 (General) have £7,000 added to their salary when they are being allocated places under the Tier 2 limit prioritisation process."
- The Government does not accept that there is any need to extend the deadline for employers to reply to threats of sponsor licence revocation or any need for an appeals process against revocation.