The government should use Brexit as an opportunity to rethink its approach to skills using migration policy, according to a new report from the IPPR Commission on Economic Justice.
The IPPR report recommends that employers who invest in the skills of workers in the UK should receive additional visa advantages when employing migrant workers, and those who do not should pay a higher skills charge.
IPPR’s new report shows how the UK’s immigration strategy could forge a new partnership between employers and government, as a means to achieving a high-pay, high-productivity economy. To this end IPPR propose the introduction of a Trusted Sponsor System for employers who seek to recruit skilled workers internationally.
The Trusted Sponsor System would operate alongside the current Tier 2 sponsor license and offer employers additional visa advantages in return for a commitment to responsible recruitment and employment practices, supporting the integration of sponsored employees, and investing in the domestic skills base.
To qualify for the scheme, employers should be able to demonstrate:
- That they pay the national living wage to all employees
- A commitment to investing in training (e.g. via apprenticeships, traineeships or paid internships)
- A commitment to taking responsibility for supporting the integration of migrant workers (e.g. offering English lessons in the work place).
Employers who participate in the scheme would be eligible for additional visa advantages. These could include: visa fast-tracking; a reduced Immigration Skills Charge; and a lower salary threshold of £20,800 per annum. The Immigration Skills Charge for Employers who do not meet the requirements of the Trusted Sponsor Scheme should double (from £1000 to £2000 annually) per Tier 2 migrant employee.
The report also calls for a less centralised immigration system to give the UK’s nations and regions the control they need to address labour and demographic challenges.