10 per cent reduction likely in number of skilled foreign workers migrating from outside Europe

Home secretary
Johnson’s plans expected to make rules tougher for migrants

Tags: Alan Johnson, MAC, CBI, John Cridland

7th September 2009: The special plans to be announced today home secretary Alan Johnson for securing "skilled" jobs for British workers is apprehended to bring down by 10 per cent the number of skilled workers moving in from outside Europe.
The announcement is expected to come at a time when the need for retaining skilled overseas workers is, otherwise, gaining momentum with a view to put the recession-hit economy back on the track.
Only recently, 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.
The reports 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.
The government’s argument, however, is the measures are essential in light of British workers’ apprehensions of being destabilize during the period of recession.
The measures, based on suggestions by Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), are apparently aimed at favouring British workers and the ones from EU countries having the right to work in the UK. The Home Office adds the steps will ensure British workers are not only first in line for jobs, but also have more time in which to apply.
It is also clear 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; and the migrants will need a minimum salary of £20,000 to apply for a visa, instead of earlier £17,000. It will be £32,000, if they lack formal qualifications, as against earlier figure £24,000.
The deputy director-general of the CBI employers’ organisation, John Cridland, says some businesses have been frustrated by the government frequently moving the goalposts on immigration, and they hope these proposals will encourage stability so that employers can plan ahead.
The plans to be announced also make it mandatory for British firms to advertise jobs solely through UK jobcentres for a month before they are allowed to recruit skilled workers from overseas. Until now, a job has to be advertised in the UK for only two weeks before being offered to overseas workers.
By Monika

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