Institutions were encouraged to respond to UUK’s call for evidence. The review contains a number of proposals of relevance to HEIs including dependents’ work rights, restricting Tier 2 recruitment to ‘highly specialised’ workers and potential changes to the application of the existing Tier 2 cap.
Students from outside Europe make a vital and business-critical contribution to
International students enhance the diversity of UK universities and contribute
£7bn to the UK economy.
It is crucially important that the UK remains an attractive destination for
international students and an important component of an attractive offer is the
availability of accessible post-study work opportunities.
The Tier 2 route is already relatively inaccessible to a large number of graduating
international students due to the current salary thresholds.
Increasing the salary thresholds to a higher level is likely to further restrict post-study
work opportunities for international students to the detriment of the UK’s
Increasing the salary thresholds will also reduce the global talent pool from which
UK employers are able to recruit.
The results of the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey,
provides data on actual graduate salaries and highlights sector and regional
variations. This should be used to set minimum salary rates for individuals
moving from university into employment.
Academics and researchers from outside Europe are a vital component of the
workforce within UK universities comprising 11.7 per cent of academic staff alone
and significantly higher proportions in a number of subject areas.
It is paramount that the UK remains able to attract the most talented academics
and researchers to its universities – failure to do so will impact upon the global
reputation and ranking of UK universities, the UK’s research base and staffing
levels within strategically important subject areas.
Increasing the Tier 2 salary thresholds is likely to prevent significant numbers of
academics and researchers from joining the UK workforce particularly those at a
relatively early stage in their career. Within the context of an increasingly
competitive market for international research talent, an increase in the minimum
thresholds would have a highly negative impact on the ability of UK HEIs to
recruit from the wider international talent pool.
The Codes of Practice for higher education teaching professionals (2311) should
retain the current link to the sector’s nationally negotiated pay spine.
The Tier 2 minimum salary should not be increased to £24,800 as this will affect
many early research roles.
Salary thresholds for researchers in higher education (2112, 2114, 2119, 2426)
should be set with relevance to the evidence supplied by RCUK and UCEA.
The evidence provided in this response should be considered alongside the wider
Tier 2 consultation rather than in isolation.