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New points based Migration system to start in the New Year
Immigration Minister Liam Byrne, today unveiled the timetable for introducing the UK's tough new Australian-style points based system for migration, during a fact finding visit to Sydney.
The new scheme, which will be phased in from early 2008, will enable the British Government to manage migration to the UK more effectively, tackle abuse and attract the most talented workers into the UK economy.
The announcement came as Mr Byrne was given a tour of Australia's border controls by Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews after attending the fourth annual Four Country Conference on immigration hosted by the Australian Government, which was also attended by representatives from the United States and Canada.
Key issues under discussion include: the challenges of removing illegal immigrants, using new technology to facilitate global travel and the exchange of immigration information on war criminals.
"Migration has to support Britain's national interests. A new Australian style points based system will be simpler, clearer and easier to enforce. Crucially it will give us the best way of letting in only those people who have something to offer Britain.
"With the exception of an elite group of highly skilled migrants all other foreign workers or students will need a UK sponsor to vouch for them and help us make sure they are playing by the rules. A new £20 million network of Border and Immigration Agency officers will be making the checks.
"Meanwhile, the discussions taking place in Australia with the United States, Canada, and Australia will help us work globally to tackle the global phenomenon of illegal immigration and make it easier for legal travellers to move quickly"
Britain's new simplified, secure system for managing migration will work alongside measures designed to secure the UK's borders which will be the subject of discussion at the conference. The new system, which will allow migrants to come to the UK under one of five tiers replacing more than 80 existing routes of entry, will begin its rollout at the beginning of 2008.
* Tier 1 of the system, which caters for highly skilled migrants such as scientists and entrepreneurs, will be launched at the beginning of 2008;
* Tier 2, targeting skilled workers with a job offer and Tier 5, for youth mobility and temporary workers, will come on line in the third quarter of 2008; and
* Tier 4, for students, will follow at the beginning of 2009.
A system of sponsorship by employers and educational institutions to ensure compliance with the immigration rules is also being introduced as part of the new system at the beginning of nextr year. Controlling migration to the UK through a new simplified, secure system, fits alongside ongoing activity to tighten up the UK's immigration controls. This includes implementing new technology to record simply and effectively details of passengers intending to enter or leave the UK before they begin their journey, and the strengthening of the UK's visa system.
Notes to editors
1. Key elements of PBS include:
* consolidating more than 80 existing work and study routes into five tiers:
tier 1 - highly skilled, e.g. scientists or entrepreneurs;
tier 2 - skilled workers with a job offer, e.g. nurses, teachers, engineers;
tier 3 - low skilled workers filling specific temporary labour shortages, e.g. construction workers for a particular project
tier 4 - students; and
tier 5 - youth mobility and temporary workers, e.g. working holiday makers or musicians coming to play a concert.
* points to be awarded to reflect aptitude, experience, age and also the level of need in any given sector, to allow the UK to respond flexibly to changes in the labour market;
* a system of sponsorship by employers and educational institutions to ensure compliance;
* financial securities for specific categories where there has been evidence of abuse to ensure that migrants return home at the end of their stay; and
* the ending of employment routes to the UK for low-skilled workers from outside the EU except in cases of short-term shortages.
2. Last month the Home Office also announced that it will be setting up a Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise Ministers on where migration might sensibly fill gaps in the labour market.
3. The Government also announced a new Migration Impacts Forum (MIF) to provide information on the wider impacts of migration on local communities and how best to ensure public services can respond and community cohesion can be retained.