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Salary thresholds are not fit for purpose and will impact on science and research capability

Prospect calls on government to think again on using salary thresholds and quotas for immigration

The £30,000 salary threshold in the government's immigration white paper, published today (Wednesday 19 December), would have profound implications in a number of sectors, notably public sector science, technology and engineering.



The government's immigration white paper, published today (Wednesday 19 December), announced a year-long consultation on the use of a salary threshold, with the current recommendation being £30,000. A cap at this level would have profound implications in a number of sectors, notably in public sector science, technology and engineering.

Examples of jobs, particularly at entry level, which do not meet the threshold:

  • Veterinary inspector
  • Post-doctoral research scientists
  • Laser scientists
  • Geoscience database engineers
  • Agricultural research technicians
  • Field archaeologists.

These are just some examples of the types of role which do not meet the suggested £30,000 threshold and which currently have some reliance on non-UK EU workers. Without these workers, we will not be able to fulfil vital functions, like ensuring livestock are healthy and safe to eat.

Sue Ferns, Prospect’s senior deputy general secretary, said: “For months now unions and business groups have been telling the Prime Minister that if she wants a system that ‘works for business’ then what has been proposed so far won’t work.

"It is welcome that the government is at least consulting on the £30,000 salary threshold but this cannot simply be used as cover to push through the existing proposals against the wishes of unions and business.

“Unions have a huge knowledge base in their sectors and we will be heavily involved practically in the implementation of any policy. The government must pledge to properly include unions in its consultation – without us they will not be able to produce a system that works and they will not be able to implement it once it is in place.

“Skills and salary are not the same thing, and basing the new system on this misconception will leave both public and private sectors without the skills and people they need to succeed in the future.

“The prime minister and home secretary should listen and change course rather than continuing to allow their policy to be driven by dogma and myths about immigration.”