Mid-Ulster based organisation STEP and Dungannon Enterprise Centre is urging employers, service providers and other stakeholders to respond to a consultation on salary thresholds for UK visa applicants.
STEP’s immigration solicitor outlined the necessity to respond and gave an overview of the impact the £30,000 salary proposal could have on Northern Ireland’s labour supply.
Bernadette McAliskey, STEP CEO, stated: “The proposed changes to salary thresholds will have an unequal and detrimental impact on small businesses, agri-food business, tourism, retail and generally low wage regions within the UK.
“Northern Ireland businesses and employers will therefore take a significant ‘hit’ as a result, since this sums up our local economy. Post- Brexit, any new employees sought from the EU will also have to meet this visa threshold.
“Therefore, it is essential that employers within the local economy not only respond to the online questionnaire style consultation but that they put pen to paper by November 5 and make their individual circumstances and the impact the proposed changes will make to their business known to the MAC (Migration Advisory Committee).
In June 2019, the former Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to carry out an in-depth analysis of potential future salary thresholds.
The MAC has been asked to determine the best mechanism for calculating the salary thresholds and the rates at which they should be set.
Northern Ireland’s unique business profile and differing salary rates have not been considered in this and so engagement and participation is imperative for stakeholders who anticipate that these mechanisms will affect the operations of their businesses and organisations.”
Denise Murtagh, business development manager for DEC, added: “DEC would urge all businesses to have their voice heard in regards the MAC proposal.
“The proposed skills-based immigration system and the recommended minimum £30,000 salary for workers exposes local business to potentially crippling labour supply shortages.
“The movement of migrant workers to other parts of the EU is a big risk to businesses here where we already face a skills shortfall.
“We need skills that enables manufacturing and processing to continue and the current proposal is not going to support this. It’s imperative that businesses express how this will impact them before the deadline of November 5.”
Further detail of this, and information on how to submit evidence can be found at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/migration-advisory-committee.