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Migration Advisory Committee consultation

In light of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the Government are reviewing the UK’s immigration policy from 2021 onwards. In 2018, the Government published a White Paper outlining a proposed new system, which was informed by evidence gathered in a previous consultation by the Migration Advisory Committee. The proposed salary thresholds in the White Paper were only in partial agreement with the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommendations of September 2018.

The Government has since asked the MAC for further advice on the issue of salary thresholds, as they would fit within a points-based ‘Australian-style’ migration system, as proposed by the Prime Minister in July 2019. MAC is gathering evidence to form a report for Government on the issue and the Society is formulating a response in which your comments would be appreciated.

In the current UK migration system a wide range of salary thresholds exist depending on occupation, skill level, sector, and other attributes. The 2018 Immigration White Paper proposes a single migration salary threshold of the 25th percentile of average full-time earnings (or £30,000, whichever is higher). In the geosciences, a number of occupations from a range of sectors are likely to be impacted by the proposed changes, including postdoctoral researchers, technical and support staff, those in the early stages of their career, and those employed outside London. We would encourage Fellows who employ foreign nationals, who have experience of the current Tier 2 visa system, or who have applied for settlement in the UK to get in touch. 

To help the MAC better understand the future migration salary threshold and its wider implications, they are seeking evidence to improve their understanding of how skill level and salaries vary across the UK. We are asking Fellows to get in touch and share their knowledge with us to help formulate a data-driven response to their call for evidence. Please submit your comments to our Policy team at by close of business on Friday 18 October 2019 to be included within the response.

A summary of the questions asked by the call for evidence is provided below. Fellows are encouraged to email comments to for inclusion within the Society's response. Full details of the content in the call for evidence can be found via the website, or by downloading the document 'Annex B: Call for Evidence Questions'.


  1. Name
  2. Contact details
  3. Sector
  4. Are staff located regionally or nationwide?
  5. Number of employees
  6. In the last five years have you recruited staff from:
    • UK/Ireland
    • EEA countries
    • Non-EEA countries
  7. In the next 12 months are your likely to recruit workers from:
    • UK/Ireland
    • EEA countries
    • Non-EEA countries

Experience of Tier 2 visas

  1. Have you any non-EEA employees recruited under a current Tier 2 visa? 
  2. How do Tier 2 visa salary requirements compare with usual pay for the same role? 
  3. Have you any issues with Tier 2 visas? 
  4. Have any Tier 2 visa staff applied for settlement? 
  5. How does the £35,800 settlement salary threshold compare to salaries paid at the time of application for settlement? 

Salary thresholds

  1. Should there be a minimum salary threshold (above the legal minimum wage)?
  2. Should such a threshold be applied universally across the economy and the UK to ensure simplicity?
  3. Should there be a variety of salary thresholds to reflect employer needs and, if so, how should these be decided (e.g. by sector/region/career level/occupation)?
  4. What accommodations should be made to the salary threshold for jobs in shortage? 
  5. What is your opinion of the current salary threshold?
  6. Do you think the minimum salary requirement of £30,000 for most occupations is too high, too low, or about right? 
  7. What should count towards salary when assessing whether an individual meets the threshold (e.g. company car, pension, commission, part-time working hours, housing allowances, employee equity, etc.)?

Australian points-based system

The Government is considering adopting an Australian-type points-based system of immigration. Please tell us the relative importance of the following characteristics typically used to award points to migrants:

  • Language proficiency 
  • Having studied in the UK
  • Work experience
  • Age
  • Education attainment
  • Having a job offer
  • Salary
  • Priority occupations 
  • Other (please specify) 

If you have any questions or would like to discuss submitting information to this call for evidence, please contact