New UK immigration system: views sought on access to ‘low-skilled’ workers following Brexit

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17 June 2020

Immigration

New UK immigration system: views sought on access to ‘low-skilled’ workers following Brexit

In its proposed ‘skills-based’ post-Brexit immigration policy - which will terminate the free movement of people from the EU - the Government has set a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 for the main work migration route, ending the ability of UK employers to fill so-called ‘low-skilled’ vacancies from overseas.

Exceptions to this rule will be roles which appear on the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), having been identified as facing a shortage of suitable labour. The SOL is designed to make it easier for employers to fill such vacancies with migrant workers and will be subject to a lower salary threshold of £20,480.

As part of its remit to provide independent advice to the UK Government, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is currently seeking industry views on the new SOL, which will primarily focus on ‘medium-skilled’ occupations (RQF Level 3-5), in particular those roles filled by migrant workers, the salaries they are paid, and the implications of potential changes.

The ramifications of the proposed salary thresholds for the workplace and facilities management profession are likely to be extremely significant: in certain sectors, up to 24% of the workforce comes from the EU; in specific roles and locations, this can be as much as 34%.

Our profession has long recognised the contributions of lower-paid occupations, such as cleaners and security guards, but the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the value and crucial importance of these roles, not just in keeping buildings - and their occupants - safe and healthy, but also in keeping society and the economy in working order.

If you have any views on how the proposed new immigration policy and salary thresholds will affect your organisation or the wider profession, you can provide feedback directly via the consultation web page or by mailing your comments to policy@iwfm.org.uk. The consultation is open until 24 June 2020.