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Immigration cap; and what it means


After years of deliberations, criticism, skepticism, cap comes into force
6th April 2011: It’s here. After years and years of deliberations, criticism, apprehensions and skepticism, the government has finally imposed its cap on the number of non-EU migrants coming to the UK.
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As the cap comes into force from today, employers will be able to bring just 20,700 people from outside the EU for working as skilled professions under Tier Two of the system.

Another 1,000 visas will also be available to the exceptionally talented for keeping the doors open to the brightest and the best.

These visas are for those, who according to the experts, will make biggest contribution to science and the arts in the UK.

The permission to stay in the UK will initially be granted to them for three years and four months. But, they will be able to extend their stay for a further two years, and to settle here after five years’ residence in the UK.

It is for talented migrants already recognised or have the potential to be recognised as leaders in the fields of science, arts and humanities.
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The government has also asserted that bright foreign students with brighter ideas will find UK doors open.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, only recently said: ‘I am delighted to announce that, alongside our stricter rules, we will ensure that innovative student entrepreneurs who are creating wealth are able to stay in the UK to pursue their ideas.’

With the imposition of the cap, it is also clear that intra-company transfers deployed by firms to bring their own people into the UK for more than a year for carrying out specific jobs will not be included in the cap.

The government has already made it clear that the intra-company transfer route is all set to be changed in three ways.

The UK Border Agency has, in fact, asserted: `The job will have to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list; only those paid £40,000 or more will be able to stay for more than a year.

`They will be granted for three years with the possibility of extending for a further two; and those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for no longer than 12 months, at which point they must leave and will not be able to re-apply for 12 months’.

The proposal of coming out with a cap was first mooted by the Conservatives, when they were in opposition. An interim cap was put in place soon after the general election.

Already, economists have joined the tirade against restrictions on immigration from outside the European Union. They have expressed a firm belief that the restrictions will harm the UK’s recovery.
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Even though immigration minister Damian Green has described the new controls as ‘business-friendly’ controls, a substantial number of skilled workers will find themselves facing bolted doors.

The changes may in fact leave foreign chefs with a bad taste, with their dreams of making it to the UK turning sour.

In fact, the cap is apprehended to stem the flow of chefs for the British curry industry. They were previously covered by the shortage occupation list, but now stand excluded from the new graduate occupation list.

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