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Migration Advisory Committee: Call for Evidence on Minimum Salary Thresholds for Tier 2

Consultations and responses
3 July 2015

Further to the initial salary review, we gathered evidence to support its submission to the MAC’s wider review of Tier 2.

Institutions were encouraged to respond to UUK’s call for evidence. The review contains a number of proposals of relevance to HEIs including  dependents’ work rights, restricting Tier 2 recruitment to ‘highly specialised’ workers and potential changes to the application of the existing Tier 2 cap.


Students from outside Europe make a vital and business-critical contribution to UK universities.

International students enhance the diversity of UK universities and contribute £7bn to the UK economy.

It is crucially important that the UK remains an attractive destination for international students and an important component of an attractive offer is the availability of accessible post-study work opportunities.

The Tier 2 route is already relatively inaccessible to a large number of graduating international students due to the current salary thresholds.

Increasing the salary thresholds to a higher level is likely to further restrict post-study work opportunities for international students to the detriment of the UK’s competitiveness.

Increasing the salary thresholds will also reduce the global talent pool from which UK employers are able to recruit.

The results of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, provides data on actual graduate salaries and highlights sector and regional variations. This should be used to set minimum salary rates for individuals moving from university into employment.

Academics and researchers from outside Europe are a vital component of the workforce within UK universities comprising 11.7 per cent of academic staff alone and significantly higher proportions in a number of subject areas.

It is paramount that the UK remains able to attract the most talented academics and researchers to its universities – failure to do so will impact upon the global reputation and ranking of UK universities, the UK’s research base and staffing levels within strategically important subject areas.

Increasing the Tier 2 salary thresholds is likely to prevent significant numbers of academics and researchers from joining the UK workforce particularly those at a relatively early stage in their career. Within the context of an increasingly competitive market for international research talent, an increase in the minimum thresholds would have a highly negative impact on the ability of UK HEIs to recruit from the wider international talent pool.

The Codes of Practice for higher education teaching professionals (2311) should retain the current link to the sector’s nationally negotiated pay spine. 2

The Tier 2 minimum salary should not be increased to £24,800 as this will affect many early research roles.

Salary thresholds for researchers in higher education (2112, 2114, 2119, 2426) should be set with relevance to the evidence supplied by RCUK and UCEA.

The evidence provided in this response should be considered alongside the wider Tier 2 consultation rather than in isolation.

The team

Stephanie Harris

Policy Manager
Universities UK


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