Employer Demand for 'Skilled' Migrant Workers: Regulating Admission Under the United Kingdom's Tier 2 (General) Visa
Temporary Labour Migration in the Global Era: The Regulatory Changes (edited by Joanna Howe and Rosemary Owens, Hart Publishing, Oxford: 2016) pp. 113-130.
19 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 3, 2017
In our time of globalisation, the admission of migrant workers is one of the most debated public policy issues around the world. Over the past two decades, temporary migrant workers programmes (TMWPs) have expanded across all sectors and both ends of the skills spectrum in numerous advanced industrialised countries. These TMWPs are commonly based on a demand-driven model of employer sponsorship aimed at filling shortages in the local labour market on a short-term basis. Assessing employers’ claims in relation to ‘skills’ and ‘shortages’ is often a highly contested component of regulating admission under TMWPs. The admission criteria and processes of such schemes can have significant implications for the interests of and relations between different migrants, local workers, and employers in the host state.
This chapter examines the regulatory challenges arising from the conditions of entry under the United Kingdom’s employer-sponsored Tier 2 (General) visa scheme, including the number of migrants admitted, the occupations, sectors, and geographical areas where they are recruited, as well as migrants’ skills and attributes. Employers may desire a laissez faire model of employer-led admission where they can freely decide who and how many migrant workers to admit. Yet, as reforms to the admission criteria under Tier 2 (General) visa scheme in recent years suggest, other competing policy considerations may prevail such as the interests of resident workers in having privileged access to the labour market and in ensuring these schemes are not used to undercut their wages and working conditions.
Keywords: labour migration, migrant workers, skills shortages
JEL Classification: F22, F66, J8, J61
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation