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Changes give British workers more opportunities to apply for jobs

From 14 December 2009, the resident labour market test for Tier 2 of the points-based system will be extended to four weeks for all jobs, the Government announced yesterday. This will replace the current requirement to advertise jobs for two weeks, or one week for jobs where the salary is £40,000 or more.

This change was proposed by the independent Migration Advisory Committee in their Tier 2 report which was published on 19 August. The Government accepted the committee's recommendations in full on 7 September.

The Prime Minister announced on 12 November that the extended resident labour market test would be introduced this autumn, so as to better support United Kingdom workers looking for skilled jobs as we come out of the economic downturn.

This change will apply to advertising campaigns that start on or after 14 December. Employers that have already run advertisements will not need to re-advertise to meet the new requirement.

To provide flexibility to employers, the four weeks will not need to run continuously. This will mean that employers will be able to advertise skilled jobs for shorter periods initially, for example for two weeks. This ensures that where resident workers are available, they can quickly be recruited to skilled jobs.

Where there are no suitable resident workers available, the resident labour market must be tested for a further two weeks, making four weeks in total, before employers can appoint a migrant worker.

Borders and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:

'We've always said that we would run our immigration system for the benefit of the UK and that is why the Prime Minister announced that we will extend the amount of time employers must advertise jobs in Jobcentre Plus, before they can bring in a worker from outside Europe.

'This change will give United Kingdom workers an even better chance and more time to apply for skilled vacancies that might otherwise go to migrant workers. It will ensure that businesses can recruit the skilled foreign workers that the economy needs, but not at the expense of British workers, nor as a cheaper alternative to investing in the skills of the existing workforce.'

Updated guidance for Tier 2 sponsors will be published on this website on 14 December.

The other changes to Tier 2 recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee will be implemented in spring 2010.

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