Last month we reported on the Government’s planned reforms of the Tier 2 Skilled Worker visa, which include an increase in the minimum salary threshold for experienced workers using Tier 2 and the introduction of an immigration skills charge for each non-EEA worker an employer wants to bring to the UK.

In addition to these reforms, the Government has also confirmed that it will not be making any changes to the rights of dependents of Tier 2 migrants to work in the UK.

Currently there are no restrictions on the rights of dependents such as spouses and partners to work in the UK while accompanying someone on a Tier 2 visa. The Government had asked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to investigate whether this right should be restricted, however the MAC recommended that it remain unchanged.

Campaign organisation, Permits Foundation, has welcomed the decision to leave the right to work unchanged. It claims that restricting the right to work of dependents would have been detrimental, as research it conducted found that a partners’ right to work was an influential factor in whether an employee would agree to come to the UK to work. As many as 77% of Tier 2 workers said they would probably have turned down a work opportunity in the UK if their dependents weren’t able to take up employment. Only 8% said they would definitely still have accepted a job.

The research also found that around 90% of employees whose partners had found employment said that this had had a very positive effect on their ability to integrate in the UK and on their family’s wellbeing.

Based on its research, Permits Foundation concluded that restricting dependents’ right to work would be detrimental for not only the families concerned, but also for employers and the UK economy.

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