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What a new Labour government means for companies relocating employees to the UK

What a new Labour government means for companies relocating employees to the UK

Andreia Mendes
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The Conservative Party's recent, significant changes to the UK's skilled immigration policy had global companies in anticipation of today's election results. With a Labour win, what can international companies with a presence in the UK (or those hoping to have a presence in the UK) expect going forward?
Keep reading for Labour’s main promises and commitments regarding business immigration.

Focus on Reducing Reliance on Overseas Workers

Though it hasn't set a net migration target, Labour has said it plans to introduce measures to reduce migration levels. The party aims to lessen business reliance on overseas workers by addressing skills shortages domestically and “ensuring fair wages and conditions”. 

Domestic Recruitment 

Labour is considering reintroducing the Resident Labour Market Test, requiring employers to prove attempts to recruit domestically before hiring from overseas.
Employers in sectors that rely heavily on Skilled Worker visas will be required to develop "skills improvement plans" to train UK-based workers, with non-compliant businesses facing revocation of sponsor licenses.

Skills Strategy and Training

A key proposal from Labour is a national skills strategy linking immigration with training.
The goal is to reduce long-term reliance on overseas workers by upskilling the resident workforce and improving working conditions. However, the implementation details are still unclear, particularly whether the responsibility for training will fall on the state or employers.

Skilled Worker Salary Thresholds

Labour intends to review the impact of the recent rise in minimum income that British citizens and migrants with Indefinite Leave to Remain must earn to bring partners and children from overseas to live with them in the UK, which saw the threshold increase by 48% from £26,200 to £38,700. The party will rely on the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) for the analysis, empowering them to make evidence-based decisions. Despite the MAC's criticism of the increase in Skilled Worker salary minimums and the removal of the Shortage Occupation List, it is unlikely that Labour will reinstate the discount on the going rate for occupations with chronic skills shortages. The party has not clarified its stance on maintaining current application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge.

Points-Based Immigration System

Labour promised a “reform of the points-based immigration system.” Their manifesto commits to reforming this system to be fair and well-managed, with appropriate visa restrictions and a strong link between immigration and skills policy. This suggests no major structural changes to the current system, but rather a wide-ranging review.

Employment Law Compliance

Labour wants to limit access to the immigration system for employers who fail to provide fair pay for fair work. Employers who breach employment laws, such as paying below the minimum wage, will be banned from hiring migrant workers. 

Labour’s election victory signals a potential shift in the UK's immigration policy towards a stronger emphasis on domestic skills development. For companies relocating employees to the UK, navigating these policy changes will require adapting recruitment strategies. As the new government’s plans take shape, businesses should stay informed and prepared for potential adjustments in immigration procedures and compliance requirements.

Is your company prepared? Understand what the new government means for your business.
Jobbatical's experts help you anticipate surprises and navigate the complexities of the UK immigration landscape. Book a free no-commitment consultation HERE and secure the future of your workforce.

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