Many skilled migrants in Britain work in lowly posts

October 28th, 2010 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Oct 28 (IANS) Many “highly skilled” foreign workers in Britain work in lowly posts like supermarket cashiers, shop assistants and security guards that ought to be filled by British staff, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.

Only one in four of the foreign workers allowed to come to Britain as a “highly skilled migrant”, works in a skilled job, Daily Telegraph said Thursday citing the Home Office.

Many are in lowly posts, including supermarket cashiers and shop assistants. It suggests thousands of foreigners are exploiting the route, under which it is easier to get a visa, to take jobs that should be filled by British workers, said Green.

He signalled that the visa route, aimed at attracting the brightest and the best from outside the European Union, could be overhauled radically as they prepare to impose an annual immigration cap next year.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron sought to reassure business leaders at the annual CBI conference that the planned cap would not be a bar to companies recruiting the “best talent” from overseas.

But the Home Office report shows that one of the key routes for doing that is being misused.

The so-called Tier 1 of the points-based system is aimed at allowing highly skilled migrants, such as doctors and engineers, to come to Britain.

Unlike those taking other routes through the system, they do not need to have a job offer and are deemed eligible based on their qualifications and previous earnings.

They are expected to end up in jobs paying at least 25,000 pounds a year. But a study of 1,184 cases found just 25 percent were definitely in skilled jobs.

Almost 19,000 people were allowed into Britain under Tier 1 last year and while the report stressed that the findings could not be definitive, it said they were “indicative”.

Green said: “While it is important that low-skilled jobs are filled, there are hundreds of thousands of British people who could be doing them instead of a migrant.”

“Those coming into the UK under the highly-skilled migrant route should only be able to do highly-skilled jobs - it should not be used as a means to enter the low-skilled jobs market.”

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