Visa restrictions announced - we need your thoughts

HAVE YOUR SAY: High skill visa restrictions announced

The Government's Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) – a semi-independent body set up to advise on immigration policy – is considering several new measures to bring net migration under 100,000 annually, as proposed in Conservative manifestos. We would like your opinion on how these could impact the games industry.

The proposals are focused on the Tier 2 general visa, which enables UK businesses to employ skilled migrants from outside of the European Economic Area.

Proposals the committee will consider include:

  • Restricting the availability of work visas, such as the Tier 2 for skilled migrants, to only those who come under 'skill shortages and specialists'.
  • Limiting the time 'a sector can claim to have a skills shortage' on the Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List
  • Introducing a 'skills levy on businesses who recruit foreign workers'
  • Increasing the Tier 2 (General) visa salary threshold

There is a threshold for the wages firms have to pay certain professions before a worker can get a visa. These will be different for every job, but as an example firms could in future have to pay software developers £40,000 or more to be allowed to hire them. There are full details in the MAC's consultation document here

We are concerned this could affect games companies already fighting the 'war for talent' as identified in the Next Gen. report.  

Responses received so far point to concerns from some developers and publishers that the time taken for education reform to bed down and grow experienced programmers - well over a decade - means recruitment remains global.  It is possible that raising the salary threshold as proposed will limit the ability of games companies to set up and expand teams in the UK.

We need to hear from more games companies. If you have an opinion, please fill in this very short survey to let us know your thoughts. OR if you would like a more detailed explanation, or to give your views directly, please get in touch by emailing our Policy Officer Andy:

Email Andy

The deadline for views on the salary threshold is Friday 3 July and a wider consultation of Tier 2 will be conducted over the summer.