The MAC report on European Economic Area migration in the UK was released last Tuesday. MAC conducted its review over the last 12 plus months and this included written submissions from the Tourism Alliance and a session with the Alliance Board to which we contributed to. The report has prompted varied media coverage and comment. Kurt Janson the Tourism Alliances’ Director has kindly produced a tourism overview and I can see no good reason to try to better it myself. His immediate assessment reads:
The Migration Advisory Committee released it’s final report on EEA Migration to the UK on 18 Sep 2018.
The key points are they think that, post Brexit, EU nationals should be treated the same as potential migrants from other countries. The recommend concentrating on allowing in medium to high skilled workers through a revised version of TIER 2 with no explicit entry route for “low-skilled” workers. On the positive side, they are recommending the Youth Mobility Scheme be extended to EU nationals under which a person over 18 is able to live and work in the UK for two years before they are 33 (you must apply before you are 31).
While not perfect, this would at least provide a mechanism for many tourism businesses to hire young workers from the EU in future.
It is also important to note that the report is predicated on the basis that immigration is not part of any deal with the EU. This means that, in effect, it is their recommendations for a “no deal” scenario.
The other main points to take from the report include:
- They find that EU workers have had little or no impact on unemployment among UK workers
- They find that migration has had little impact of the wages of UK workers.
- Although there is uncertainty, EU workers are thought to have improved productivity in the UK
- There is no evidence that migration has had a negative impact on the training of the UK-born workforce – in fact there is evidence of positive impacts
- They believe that if the UK decides on its new immigration system in isolation from the negotiations about the future relationship with the EU, there is compelling reasons to offer a different set of rules to EEA and non-EEA citizens.
- As high-skilled migrants having a clearer and larger benefits to existing residents, the UK should adopt a migration policy that provides greater access for higher-skilled migration while restricting access for lower-skilled workers.
- The existing Tier 2 (General) scheme provides a useful template for a future work permit scheme – although this should be extended to Medium-skilled jobs rather than just high-skilled jobs – although the salary threshold of £30k should be retained
- The Resident Labour Market Test should be abolished
- They do not recommend an explicit work migration route for low-skilled workers (except for agricultural workers) but do recommend using an expanded youth mobility scheme.
- They do not recommend regional variations to any future migration scheme
- Of concern is that they received specific examples of exploitation and undercutting in a number of areas including hospitality.
The full report can be accessed at: 2018 MAC EEA migration in the UK – Final report