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TUC submission to Migration Advisory Committee on points based system and salary thresholds

Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
Key findings

The TUC has responded to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) consultation on government plans to extend salary thresholds to EU workers and introduce an 'Australian style' points based system to immigration where the government, rather than employers, assesses migrant workers on the basis of certain characteristics, with a particular emphasis on skilled workers.

In the response we highlight:

  • The TUC does not believe the government should introduce any new points-based system for immigration or extend salary thresholds to EU workers.
  • The government’s proposals in the immigration white paper to introduce time limited visas for EU workers, particularly the proposed 12 month work visas for low skilled workers, will increase exploitation and undercutting. 
  • EU workers on the 12 month low skill visa are likely to be employed in low paid jobs where they will be vulnerable to exploitation due to low trade union coverage.
  • Trade unions in Australia have documented that temporary visas in their points-based system have encouraged exploitation, particularly for workers on the Working Holiday visa.
  •  Restricting the number of visas available for low skill jobs will increase shortages in key public sector roles
  • Ending free movement and introducing a points based immigration system and salary thresholds for EU workers goes against single market rules. The TUC believes that membership of the single market and a customs union with the EU must be part of any Brexit outcome to ensure there will be barrier free trade, on which millions of jobs depend, and that UK workers continue to be protected by EU levels of rights.
  • As outlined in the TUC report ‘Building solidarity, stopping undercutting’[1], the TUC is calling for the government to maintain free movement rights, provide a guaranteed right to remain for all EU citizens in the UK and enhance labour market protections and sectoral bargaining structures to guard against exploitation.  This must be accompanied by major investment in skills, public services and an active industrial strategy so that everyone has the public services they need and the opportunity to get a decent job.