UK – Resounding support to retain the right to work for dependants in Permits Foundation’s Tier 2 survey results25 October 2015
A recent survey by Permits Foundation showed resounding support to retain the right to work for the dependants of highly qualified workers from outside the EU.
The large majority of respondents (77%) would have been unlikely to accept their current assignment if their partner did not have the right to work in the UK. Moreover, where partners were also working in the UK, almost all the main employees said that this had a positive social impact on their adjustment and integration with life in the UK, family relationships, health and wellbeing.
Currently, the dependents of these Tier 2 visa holders have the right to work in the UK. In June 2015, the Home Secretary commissioned the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to conduct a review of the Tier 2 visa route, including the impact of removing this right, as part of its drive to reduce immigration levels.
In response to the review – and calling for the right to be retained – Permits Foundation carried out the survey of Tier 2 employees and their partners to gather opinions and data for the MAC regarding the economic and social impacts of any such decision. Over 1,000 highly qualified and skilled foreign workers responded – just over half of whom have partners who are also working in the UK.
The survey found that the partners were also highly qualified, with 96% of them having a Bachelor degree or higher. And of those who were working, 80% are in professional jobs.
Several hundred individuals in the survey also took the time to give further comments; citing both concern for their partners’ careers and emotional wellbeing should they not be allowed to work, as well as the struggle to meet the UK’s high living costs on one salary. Many also felt that restricting the right to work would be a serious obstacle in attracting top global talent, which would in turn effect the economy.
Permits Foundation is also of the opinion that restricting the right of dependants to work would not reduce net migration as only a minority of Tier 2 visa holders bring their family members and not all partners work.
Read our respondents comments: