Independent commissions and labour migration: The British MAC

Philip L. Martin, Martin Ruhs

Abstract


The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) was created in 2007 after a decade in which the share of foreign-born workers in the British labour force doubled to 13 per cent. The initial core mandate of the MAC was to provide “independent, evidence-based advice to government on specific skilled occupations in the labour market where shortages exist which can sensibly be filled by migration.” The MAC's answers to these 3-S questions, viz, is the occupation for which employers are requesting foreign workers skilled, are there labour shortages, and is admitting foreign workers a sensible response, have improved the quality of the debate over the “need” for foreign workers in the UK by highlighting some of the important trade-offs inherent in migration policy making. The MAC can clarify migration trade-offs in labour immigration policy, but cannot decide the ultimately political questions about whose interests should be prioritised and how competing policy objectives should be balanced.

Keywords


Migrant workers; labour migration; economic needs tests

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References


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