Qualification period for transfers to Britain for skilled foreign workers recruited by multinationals to be doubled to a year
Tags: Alan Johnson, MAC, CBI, PPS, ICTs
6th September 2009: With a view to secure "skilled" jobs for British workers, home secretary Alan Johnson is expected to come out with special plans. Among other things, it would be mandatory for British firms to advertise jobs solely through UK jobcentres for a month before they are allowed to recruit skilled workers from overseas.
Available information suggests even the qualification period to become eligible for transfer to Britain for skilled foreign workers recruited by the multinational companies will be doubled to a year. Until now, a job has to be advertised in the UK for only two weeks before being offered to overseas workers.
The steps come in wake of Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) report into the workings of Tier 2 of the Points Based System (PBS). It had recommended jobs should be advertised within the UK for longer duration and the arrangements for intra-company transfers should be strengthened. Strong monitoring and enforcement of Tier 2 was also recommended.
These followed a call by the UK Parliament’s Home Affairs Committee for an "urgent and rigorous" investigation into intra-company transfers (ICTs). It is believed that some of the banks and other companies are using the method to bring in foreign workers, without going through the cumbersome procedure.
The ICTs permit movement of specialist staff between global offices of multinational companies. For the purpose, there is no need to go through the lengthy immigration process. In fact, there is no requirement to advertise the post, or even to prove that a UK worker is not available to fill in.
The measures now suggested by MAC are aimed at favouring British workers and the ones from EU countries having the right to work in the UK.
The Home Office added the measures would ensure that British workers were not only first in line for jobs but also had more time in which to apply.
The move comes just over a month after the need for retaining skilled overseas workers was brought to the fore. In fact, apprehensions of highly mobile skilled workers re-migrating to countries like China and India were expressed in a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research. Another report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) had suggested British labour market may take a direct hit if companies relocate themselves to more immigration-friendly countries.
It had found reduction in number of migrant workers from outside Europe to the UK could result in further job losses in the country. This was because the companies would prefer shifting their operations to more immigration-friendly countries.
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