UK sets limit for non-European workers effective April 2011

December 5, 2010 7:14 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Dec. 3 — The United Kingdom has set further limits to the number of skilled persons from outside the European Union (EU) who could work in the country, to take effect April 2011, it was announced recently.

This includes restricting Tier One — the 'highly skilled' tier — of the UK Home Office’s Points Based System (PBS), to entrepreneurs, investors and people of exceptional talent, the UK embassy in Manila said.

The annual limit will be 21,700 (20,700 under the 'skilled' and 'highly skilled' routes and 1,000 under the new ‘exceptional talent’ route).

The “UK Government was determined to make changes to Tier One when it was revealed that approximately a third of those coming through this route were actually doing low skilled jobs once they were in the UK,” the announcement said.

The Home Office said that after consultations with UK businesses, the latter "have made it clear that their priority is to fill their specific vacancies through Tier Two" — the category of skilled workers who must be at graduate level and sponsored by an employer.

Applicants under Tier Two will still be required to apply for a visa from the UK Border Agency using the PBS. Tier Two applicants will be competing against other applicants for a visa to enter the UK.

In months when the limit is oversubscribed, those with the most points will qualify for one of the certificates of sponsorship available each month, the announcement said.

Separately, businesses can bring in their own employees through the intra-company transfer route. However, such employees must be earning more than £40,000 to stay more than 12 months. Their stay will be restricted to five years.

In making the announcement, UK Home Secretary Theresa May said “the introduction of an annual limit was a pledge by the UK Coalition Government and will allow Britain to remain competitive in the international jobs market, while ensuring migrant labour is not used as a substitute for those already looking for work in the UK.”

Secretary May said, “The announcement has set out a clear, rational approach to which workers we will allow into the UK job market. We have set out an approach which will not only get immigration down to sustainable levels but at the same time, protects those businesses and institutions which are vital to our economy.”

”We will take action on all routes into the UK and these changes are crucial if we are to limit the numbers coming here to work, while still attracting the brightest and the best to the UK.”

May said the Government “worked closely with businesses while designing this system, and listened to their feedback, but we have also made clear that as the recovery continues, we need employers to look first to people who are out of work and who are already in this country.”

It was explained that the “tightening of the economic routes” of immigration is among the measures the UK is adopting to achieve its goal of reducing net migration. (PNA)

vcs/GJB

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