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Strict new jobs list for migrant workers
A strict new list of shortage jobs which targets migration better at the needs of British businesses, while reinforcing the selective approach of the new Australian-style points based system, was presented to the Home Office today by independent advisors.
The recommended shortage occupation list would bring in a more flexible, larger set of work categories but would see the number of individual positions open to migrants reduced by 30 per cent.
The Home Office tasked the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), an independent panel of economists, with overhauling the current shortage occupation list and will now pressure test their recommendations carefully before publishing the final list in October.
The MAC's recommended list follows the most comprehensive study of its kind ever conducted anywhere in the world. It reduces the number of jobs open to migrants from one million to 700,000. The list also defines more tightly which positions cannot easily be filled by resident workers.
Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said:
"Our new Australian-style points system is flexible to meet the needs of British business while ensuring that only those we want and no more can come here to work. This tough new shortage occupation list supports that. "This strict list means 30 per cent fewer jobs are available to migrants via the shortage occupation route.
"Those that do come will need to work hard, play by the rules and speak English."
The final shortage occupation list will be published by the Home Office next month ahead of the skilled worker tier of the points system - known as Tier 2 - coming on-line in November.
Tier 2 will ensure that opportunities for British jobseekers are maintained by requiring companies to prove they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before recruiting from outside Europe. To get in under Tier 2 skilled foreign workers must have:
* a good grasp of English;
* prospective earnings of more than £24,000 or have a good qualification; and
* enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay.
The MAC report recommends that sectors should develop training strategies and look beyond migration for new recruits, which directly supports the Government's aim to upskill the British workforce and ensure Britain remains a global leader in skills.
Mr Byrne said:
"We are grateful for the work the Migration Advisory Committee has carried out. We will be pressure testing their conclusions before publishing our final list in October, so that the points system can come online just as we promised - on time.
"Our tough new points system plus our plans for newcomers to earn their citizenship will reduce overall numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain and the numbers awarded permanent settlement.
"Crucially, the points system means only the migrants with the skills Britain needs can come - and no more. Unlike made-up quotas, this stops Government cutting business off from the skills it needs when they need them."
Notes to editors
1. In March 2006 the Government published a Command Paper setting out the new PBS, 'A points-based system: Making Migration work for Britain'. The new system consolidates the many complex routes into just five tiers. It is designed to facilitate entry to the UK of all those wanting to come to work, train and study.
2. Tier 2 (for skilled migrants) is one of five tiers of the PBS. It will be introduced in November this year, along with Tier 5 (for primarily non-economic visitors). Tier 1, for highly skilled migrants, was introduced in February this year. Tier 3, which covers low skilled routes, will only be used if specific shortages are identified that cannot be filled from the UK's domestic or European labour force.
3. Since the Home Office introduced new penalties for employers to combat illegal working in February, 611 fines worth around £6 million have been issued.