UK Government

News Distribution Service (National): Migration Advisory Committee publishes required limits for tiers 1 and 2 of the points based system and supporting policies

Press Release   •   Nov 19, 2010 11:45 GMT

Issued by the News Distribution Service on behalf of the Migration Advisory Committee

The required limits on skilled and highly skilled migrant workers admitted to the UK under Tiers 1 and 2 of the Points Based System in 2011/12 were published today by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

These reductions are the first step towards taking net migration into the tens of thousands. In order for the Government to make progress towards meeting that objective, the total number of out-of-country Tiers 1 and 2 visas issued next year needs to be between 37,400 and 43,700. This compares with 50,000 for 2009 and equates to a reduction in visas issued across the two tiers of between 13 and 25 per cent (6,300 and 12,600 visas). The Home Secretary has stated that the MAC will advise on limits for future years in due course.

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

"It is not possible to reduce net migration to the tens of thousand by limiting work-related migration alone. The Committee assumes that work-related migration takes 20 per cent of the total cut - its fair share - which implies that family and student migration must take the other 80 per cent".

In addition, the MAC has made a number of policy suggestions to the Government to underpin the required limits. These include:

* Favouring Tier 2 over Tier 1 to reduce the impact of the limits on business;

* Improving selectivity of Tiers 1 and 2 including raising the points thresholds for earnings and qualifications; and

* Reviewing whether explicit economic criteria should be applied to decisions on settlement in the UK.

It concludes that reducing the number of migrants coming through these routes would be best achieved by making them more selective, and that action should be taken to give UK workers the skills to ensure that businesses can still recruit the people they need.




1. The Migration Advisory Committee report can be viewed in full online here:

2. For the Tier 1 General route, in order to achieve the Government's policy objective, the MAC suggests the following:
* A reduction in the number of entry clearance visas issued, compared with 2009, in the range of 3,150 to 6,300; and
* A limit on the number of Tier 1 entry clearance visas in the range of 8,000 to 11,100 in 2011/12.

3. For the Tier 2 shortage occupation, RLMT and intra-company transfer routes, the following is consistent with the Government's objective for net migration:
* A reduction the number of entry clearance visas issued, compared to 2009, in the range of 3,150 to 6,300; and
* A limit on the number of Tier 2 entry clearance visas in the range of 29,400 to 32,600 in 2011/12. This limit excludes extensions, switchers and dependants.

4. Therefore, the best estimate is that the Government objective to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands over the lifetime of the Parliament implies a reduction, compared to 2009, of 6,300 or 12,600 visas to be issued in 2011/12.
The total required limit for Tier 1 General and Tier 2 combined in 2011/12 is, therefore, between 37,400 and 43,700.

5. The MAC's required limits cover new main migrants entering the UK from outside the EU only. The limits do not cover in country switchers or extensions, or dependants.

6. The MAC is also publishing on its website today a number of other reports it commissioned as part of its ongoing research programme. These can be viewed here:


NDS Enquiries
Phone: For enquiries please contact the issuing dept