Cut migrants to cope with recession: British home minister

February 22nd, 2009 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 22 (IANS) Britain’s home minister said Sunday a coming clampdown on skilled migrant workers would help the government tackle the effects of recession.
Jacqui Smith made her comments before a points-based system, aimed at controlling skilled immigration into Britain, kicks in in April.

“Given the current economic situation, it is right for us now to look at that points-based system and to make sure that it is responding to the current economic circumstances,” Smith told BBC television.

“I’m proposing, for example, that it shouldn’t be possible for somebody to come into this country to take a skilled job unless that job has been advertised to a British worker through Jobcentre Plus.”

Highly skilled workers from outside the European Union region face tough new immigration rules as part of a new government crackdown.

From April they will only be allowed into Britain to search for a job if they have a masters degree and a job with a minimum salary of 20,000 pounds a year.

The major change will come in under ‘Tier 1′ of the points-based system - the route which offers access to Britain’s labour markets to highly skilled individuals, such as scientists and entrepreneurs, who can come in without a specific job offer.

Around 26,000 people came to Britain last year using this route.

Their qualification and minimum salary levels will be raised to a masters degree and 20,000 pounds from undergraduate degree and 17,000 pounds respectively from April.

‘Tier 2′ immigrants - skilled workers who come for specific jobs and are sponsored by an employer - will have their posts advertised in Britain first.

However, ministers are now looking at tightening this rule still further, the Daily Telegraph reported.

They are to ask the independent Migration Advisory Committee to give its advice on restricting those entering Britain to “shortage occupations” only.

The MAC will also look at whether dependants should in future be automatically let in, the paper said.

Currently, if one person qualifies for entry under the points-based system, their spouse and children can come in too.

The government has already suspended ‘Tier 3′ of the points system to ensure no foreign national from outside the European Union can come to Britain and work in a low-skilled job.

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