`Immigrants won’t be prohibited from working in London’: Lib Dem

No restrictions to be imposed on their place of stay in Britain
29th April 2010: Less than a week after the Lib Dem’s proposal for a regional point-based system came under fire by The Highly Skilled Migrants Forum and London First, the party’s home affairs spokesman has clarified immigrants wont be prohibited from working in London.

Chris Huhne has added the immigrants won’t also be restricted from living anywhere in Britain, under the proposed policy.

It was being seen as an attempt to direct the new migrants to under-populated areas such as Scotland; and was being dubbed as impractical by critics.

They had interpreted the proposal to mean work permits for foreign skilled labour would be available more easily for under-populated areas such as Scotland, while permits for London and south-east England would be comparatively more difficult to obtain.

Raising objections, the Forum said it was an impractical proposal, while London First — representing businesses in the City — insisted restrictions could damage long-term business prospects.

Huhne made it clear that the proposal only aimed at making the point-based system flexible at regional level. In over crowded regions or travel-to-work areas where public services were already overstretched, the qualifying points for a company to hire a skilled worker from outside Europe would be higher, than for the rest of the country.

Similarly, it would be lower in areas of labour deficiency. The labour market experts on the migration advisory committee would take the decisions on the status of areas.

Responding to the criticism, Huhne said it should be harder to get a work permit in London and the south-east, as it was busting at seams. At the same time, it would be possible to fill skill shortages in London with overseas staff.

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