Britain announces strict new immigration rules

May 7th, 2008 - 1:32 am ICT by admin  

London, May 6 (IANS) British employers will have to prove that no British workers are able to fill a vacancy before offering a job to a migrant worker from outside Europe under strict new rules applicable from this autumn, the Home Office said Tuesday. The rules are part of the second stage in the new Points Based System (PBS) of immigration under which the government will only give work visas to those migrants whose skills are needed in Britain.

Points will be awarded according to the applicant’s qualifications, salary prospects and age. A potential skilled migrant worker will have to speak good English and earn over 24,000 pounds a year or be well qualified.

Under the new guidelines, workers entering the country from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will have to have the required number of points and show a British job offer before they can enter Britain.

The Home Office said 65,000 skilled workers have entered Britain from outside the EEA in the 12 months to last September, but that under the PBS the figure would fall to 57,000.

“Our new points system means that British jobseekers get the first crack of the whip and that only the skilled migrants we actually need will be able to come,” Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said.

“By moving points up or down, we can make sure the numbers we allow in to the UK are in line with the needs of business and the country as a whole,” he added.

“When we set the points pass mark, we will listen to independent advice - the Migration Advisory Committee on the needs of the economy, and the Migration Impacts Forum on the effect of migration on society.”

Tuesday’s announcement is the first government initiative since the ruling Labour Party suffered humiliating losses in local authority elections across the country last week.

The rival Conservative Party, which notched up impressive gains, has made immigration one of its main campaigning issues, claiming the government has been too lenient and called for a cap on migration.

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