The Migration Advisory Committee, MAC, has today published its final report into EEA migration in the UK. This report comes as the final publication of the Committee on this topic following the Home Secretary’s commission in July 2017 to assess the impact of EEA workers in the economy and Society.

The report sets out the Committee’s findings into the impact of EEA migration on a number of issues, including productivity, innovation and investment impacts amongst others, and makes a number of policy recommendations for the Government to consider in its design for a new migration system for the UK going forward. 

Rather than recommending that EEA migrants should be offered a preferential access compared to non-EEA workers, the report recommends the introduction of a fully managed immigration system, with benefits to the UK most likely to be achieved through shifting the mix of work migration towards higher-skilled workers.

Other key recommendations include:

  • Abolishing the cap on the number of migrants for Tier 2 visas, together with widening the range of jobs permitted
  • Maintaining existing salary thresholds for all migrants in Tier 2

The report recognises that these Tier 2 proposals would make it easier to hire migrants into high and medium-skilled jobs, but make no change for lower-skilled positions. It notes that the Shortage Occupation List will be fully reviewed in a separate report.

To formulate this report the Committee issued a number of calls for evidence, and the Biochemical Society responded to these calls by contributing to the consultation responses of both the Campaign for Science and Engineering, and the Royal Society of Biology.

Commenting on the report, Professor Sir Pete Downes, President of the Biochemical Society said:

The Society welcomes the report’s recommendation to abolish the visa caps for Tier 2 visas as this aligns closely with the Society’s own view on this issue. Immigration is essential for the UK science sector, and it is vital that any future migration system must be easy to navigate and welcoming to all molecular bioscientists, regardless of background. We are concerned that maintaining the existing salary threshold for Tier 2 visas may exclude those working in skilled but lower paid positions in the sector and may prove a disadvantage to scientists at the early stages of their career.”

If you would like to share any particular comments or concerns regarding this report, please contact the Science Policy department