Tier 2 visa Partners’ Rights a Key Consideration
A little discussed aspect of Tier 2 working visas is the automatic right of visa holders’ spouses or partners to work in the UK. The recent Migration Advisory Committee review of Tier 2 employment visa arrangements had been asked to consider the impact of removing this right, and in response to that suggestion activists have been keen to stress the importance of partners’ working rights.
The Permits Foundation, which campaigns to ensure that skilled workers’ partners are able to work in the same jurisdiction as they are, has published its own report into this important aspect of the Tier 2 visa arrangements. The Impact of Removing the Unrestricted Right of Dependants to Work in the UK argued strongly for the current rights of migrant workers’ spouses to be maintained.
In cases of highly skilled workers, such as doctors and university staff, the report found that the first worker’s spouse was equally likely to have undergone a higher than normal level of education, and be in a position to contribute positively to the UK economy.
The report, which surveyed 1063 tier 2 visa holders, found that 50% of partners were working in their own right. Given that they are competing in an open market, the report argued for the merits of such workers. Furthermore, the survey showed that of those employed 80% have taken managerial or professional positions.
Perhaps more tellingly given the inclusion of key workers such as NHS staff and IT specialists in the exempt class of required skills, 77% of current Tier 2 visa holders claimed that had their spouse been unable to work in the UK they would not have taken up their current posts.
The rights of a partner to work in the UK are a key part of the package of rights currently granted to Tier 2 workers, and a key attractor to workers with the skills that have been identified as being in short supply amongst the native workforce. The report therefore argued cogently for the rights of tier 2 visa holders’ partners to be maintained.
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