Post-Brexit immigration plans that sparked fears of a further shortage of low-skilled staff are to be reviewed following intervention by home secretary Sajid Javid.
In December, an immigration white paper suggested a £30,000-a-year minimum salary threshold for all migrant workers. The paper proposed replacing the current system of admitting only highly-skilled workers from outside the EU, and workers of all skill levels from the EU, with a single route.
Under the plans, workers would have to earn at least £30,000, although the paper said government would discuss with businesses and employers what salary threshold should be set.
The baking industry and associated trades rely heavily on low-skilled workers, and concerns were raised about the plans by trade groups, including the British Sandwich Association and British Retail Consortium.
Javid has now commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to look at potential future thresholds and the range at which they could be set, and report back by January 2020.
“The salary thresholds should help control migration, making sure it is reduced to sustainable levels, while ensuring we can attract the talented people we need for the UK to continue to prosper,” he said in a letter to the head of MAC.
“Salary thresholds should also see skilled migrants continue to make a positive contribution to public finances.”
Areas to be examined by the MAC include: the mechanism for calculating future salary thresholds; salary threshold levels; regional salary thresholds; and exceptions to salary thresholds.
The news was welcomed by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which stateded: “We’re pleased that the government have listened to the concerns of FDF and other business bodies on this and welcome the Home Secretary’s suggestion that this should be reviewed.
"FDF has always considered the MAC’s proposed salary threshold level of £30,000 for a skilled visa as too high for the essential skilled roles our members need. "