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MAC report: stop treating migrants as commodities, UCU urges

28 January 2020 | last updated: 31 January 2020

The UK should stop treating migrants as 'commodities to be measured', UCU said today.

The union was responding to a new report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), which recommended a new lower salary threshold for Tier 2 migrants, a review of the settlement process and the potential introduction of a points-based system for migrants without a job offer.

UCU general secretary, Jo Grady, said: 'Migrant staff and students bring huge benefits to our education system as well as to the wider economy and society, but we need to stop treating them as commodities to be measured. Instead of trying to introduce a new 'points-based' system to weigh up their worth, the government's focus should be on removing any unnecessary barriers for those who wish to come to the UK for work or study.

'The committee has rightly identified that the current immigration system is too rigid and in need of reform, and its call for a wholescale review of the settlement process is welcome. It is, however, disappointing that they have opted against scrapping minimum salary thresholds, which present a particular barrier to the many professional support staff our universities rely upon. The decision not to support flexibility for part-time workers is also a missed opportunity.

'We will continue to push the government to take bolder steps to reform our immigration system so that all international staff and students are made to feel welcome in the UK.'