UK Government

Home Office: Meeting the needs of the UK economy through selective high-skilled immigration

Press Release   •   Dec 04, 2009 11:07 GMT

The first review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) of the highly skilled migration routes (Tier 1) of the Government’s Points Based System for managed migration recommends that the routes should be maintained.

In the best interests of the UK economy and labour market, the MAC has produced a package of recommendations on key areas of Tier 1.

These recommendations aim to maintain well designed immigration routes to attract the “brightest and best” to come to the UK to work in the top 10 per cent of graduate jobs. In particular, the MAC recommends that:

* people with an undergraduate degree as their highest qualification should be allowed in under Tier 1 General route, subject to high previous earnings;
* the points available under the Tier 1 General route are updated to ensure that only the most highly skilled immigrants are admitted through this route; and

* the initial leave to remain entitlement under the Tier 1 General route is reduced from three to two years, with a three year extension subject to evidence that the individual is in highly skilled employment.

Chair of the Migration Advisory Committee, Professor David Metcalf, said:

“The highly skilled route of the Points Based System is very important to the UK economy. Therefore, it should be maintained and improved in order to ensure that the UK continues to attract the brightest and best.

"We are clear that Tier 1 migrants must not displace or undercut UK workers.  Immigration should not serve as a disincentive to employers to invest in training to improve the skills of workers in Britain. 

"The recommendations that we have made will ensure that the system is robust enough to deal with the changing global economy and that the UK remains attractive for foreign investment."

The Government’s objective for Tier 1 is to attract and retain people who will increase the skills and knowledge of the UK workforce, while maintaining the flexibility of the UK labour market.

In order to meet this objective, the MAC recommends that all four routes of Tier 1 (General, Post-Study Work, Entrepreneur and Investor) are retained.

In addition, for the Tier 1 General route, the MAC recommends that:

* the Government rapidly and thoroughly reviews the salary multipliers used to convert prior earnings from outside the UK into a UK equivalent; and

* UK Border Agency considers the operational feasibility of an employer acting as a guarantor for an individual’s maintenance requirement within the Tier 1 General route.

For the Post-Study Work Route (PSWR), the MAC recommends the following:

* the Government carries out research into the economic returns to studying at particular educational institutions and for particular degree subjects in the UK in order to review access to the Post-Study Work Route for foreign graduates; and

* the grant of leave under this Route remains at its current level of two years.

For the Entrepreneur Route the MAC recommends the following:

* the UK Border Agency dedicates sufficient resources to examination of whether jobs created by individuals represent a genuine net increase in jobs.

It is for the Government to decide whether and when to accept these recommendations, as well as the timescales for implementation.

Notes to editors:

For an on-line copy of the report, please following the below web address:

Click here for biogs of the MAC chair and members:

For further details on Tier 1 please follow the below web address:


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