Members Briefing – Migration Policy Update

Dear Member,

The UK Government’s new point based immigration system is due to come in to operation on 1st January 2021 and will have significant consequences for any employer looking to sponsor foreign nationals, including those from EU states, to live and work in the UK. Click here for a summary of the policy.

Scottish Engineering along with other industry associations and employers has been contributing to the consultation process over the last year since the initial proposals were published, and we can confirm that the recent policy statement provides significantly more flexibility for the UK engineering/manufacturing sector to secure essential skills from overseas where required.

In summary, companies will be allowed to sponsor foreign nationals who meet the lower thresholds of RQF 3 skills level (eg A-level, Advanced Apprenticeship or equivalent) and a salary of £25,600. Roles with salary levels between £20,480 and £25,600 may also be supported if the role is identified on the SOL (Shortage Occupation List) or if the candidate has a PhD relevant to the role. In some circumstances, therefore, the SOL will be a critical factor in enabling employers to recruit foreign nationals. There will also be a specific Scottish SOL to take account of differences in labour market and skills profile here.

The MAC (Migration Advisory Committee) has been tasked by the Government to make recommendations on the SOL by September of this year. On 13th May 2020, they launched a 6 week consultation inviting businesses to share their experience of recruitment and provide evidence on the categories of roles that should be included in the SOL. From our discussions with the MAC, it is clear they are keen to take evidence from any companies in our sector,  especially from SMEs on shortages of skills in, for example CNC, machining, electrical and electronic trades etc.

Scottish Engineering will be making a sector level submission but we would ask that any members who currently employ foreign skilled workers or may require to do so in the future, submit evidence to the MAC. Click here for further information.