Immigrant salary plan 'could harm teacher recruitment'

Iain Duncan Smith's thinktank calls for immigrants to command a £36,700 salary to be allowed to work in the UK

Mark Smulian

Pisa global education rankings: Immigration has an impact on performance, writes Sam Freedman

A right-wing thinktank has called for immigrants who wish to live and work in the UK to command a minimum £36,700 salary – a proposal that could have an impact on teacher recruitment.

The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), founded by former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, says in its report "Prioritising Growth – The Future of Immigration Policy" that the threshold should be increased from £30,000 as “record levels of low-skilled immigration in recent years have pushed down wages for low-paid, UK-born workers”.

News: ‘Disbelief’ at overseas teachers visa decision

Opinion: Brexit: 'We must keep telling EU students and staff they are welcome'

Recruitment: 'The government's immigration plans show how little it cares about schools' 

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, warned that this thinking was “completely out of touch” with the realities of teacher recruitment.

Overseas teacher recruitment

The CSJ proposals would see the Tier 2 route into the UK renamed as a "skilled work visa".

Its spokesman said: “The minimum salary threshold should increase to 35 per cent above the median, a level commensurate with the status of skilled workers.

“This said, the Home Office could still devise a list of occupations considered strategically important or in high demand, such as NHS workers…who could continue to come to the UK to work.”

The report did not directly mention teachers, but looked at the whole workforce.

It says: “While immigration has been a net positive for the British fiscal purse, pockets of the population have not benefited.

“The significant increase in low-skilled immigration has helped put downward pressure on wages for UK-born workers at the bottom of the income spectrum, as well as arguably reduced social mobility.

"The employment outcomes for low-skilled immigrants from certain countries have also been quite poor, with many facing higher levels of unemployment and deprivation.”

Mr Barton said: “At a time when it is impossible to recruit some teachers in some subjects in some areas, this sounds completely out of touch.

“There are definitely many teachers who are immigrants who earn below that.

“We have one of the youngest teaching professions there is because so many people leave, and this just shows a complete misunderstanding of the situation.”

The Department for Education has been contacted for comment.

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Mark Smulian

Latest stories

2020 international events calendar for schools

How to plan your CPD calendar for the year

Good quality CPD is absolutely key for staff retention, but throwing together ad-hoc sessions doesn’t help anyone. One school leader explains how to plan ahead
Oliver Saunders 22 Oct 2020