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Government committee report recommends lowering migrant salary threshold

LABOUR said today that lowering the salary cap for migrants after Brexit won’t help recruit the staff the NHS needs.

The government-commissioned Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has recommended that the government lower the salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600 for migrants with job offers.

Today’s report by the body made a string of recommendations after reviewing plans for the Tories’ desired points-based immigration system (PBS), set to be introduced after Brexit.

But Labour shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said the government was “tying itself in knots” over whether to have a salary threshold.

She said: “Prime Minister [Boris Johnson] is saying there won’t be a salary threshold and Home Secretary [Priti Patel] is saying there will.

“Even a lower salary cap won’t help recruit the hospital staff we need, the social care workers or many of the new recruits to private businesses.

“We need a system based on treating people and their families decently who come here with firm job offers, whatever their pay level.”

Before the report was published, Ms Patel had said that British firms have become “far too reliant” on cheap labour from the European Union and that ministers will prioritise migration of high-skilled workers.

In response to the MAC recommendations, she said that ministers would consider them but stressed the report was “advisory.”

The report recommended that the government review the settlement process and potentially introduce a PBS for migrants without job offers.

It said replacing EU freedom of movement with an Australian-style post-Brexit PBS could cut economic growth and may only lead to “slightly reduced pressures” on hospitals, schools and social housing while having “slightly increased pressure” on social care.

The system could have “zero effect” on providing more British jobs for British workers, the report also suggested.

Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said the MAC recommendations would not “allow a single care worker to come to the UK.”

She said: “Nor would the government’s idea of a one-year visa be any better. By the time care staff have arrived and settled into their jobs, it’d be time for them to leave.

“If wages were increased and training improved, people who already live and work in the UK might start to see care as an attractive career option.”

The University College Union warned against “treating [migrants] as commodities to be measured,” saying that they “bring huge benefits to our education system.”

Migrant rights’ organisation Migrant Voice slammed plans for a PBS as “crude, discriminatory and self-defeating.”

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