Britain will next year adopt an Australian-style system for restricting immigration to those with skills it needs.
Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, unveiled the timetable for introducing the points-based system during a fact-finding visit to Australia, The system uses a similar model to attract migrants with the skills required by the country and reject those who would compete with local workers for unskilled jobs.
“With the exception of an elite group of highly-skilled migrants, all other foreign workers or students will need a UK sponsor to vouch for them and help us make sure they are playing by the rules,” Mr Byrne told The Guardian.
Under the new system, migrants will have to gain a certain number of points according to their skills and sector gaps in the UK, to qualify for entry to the UK.
The points based scheme, part of a major five year overhaul of the immigration system, was first announced, by the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, last year, and will consolidate the 80 current routes of entry to the UK under five tiers.
As expected, the Home Office will launch the first tier, for highly-skilled migrants and entrepreneurs, at the beginning of next year.
Tier two, for skilled workers such as nurses, teachers and senior carers with job offers will be rolled out during the third quarter of 2008.
Tier four for students will be introduced at the start of 2009.
In a pamphlet due out later this month and widely reported in British media, Mr Byrne warned uncontrolled migration could damage the poorest communities. He said while migration had made the UK richer, it had also “unsettled the country”.
Mr Byrne is attending an international conference on immigration issues in Sydney.
Overseas nurses, worried about Britain’s tough new stance on immigration, are leaving in droves. Ironically, many have gone to work in Australia, but the majority are planning to go to the United States where nurses can command huge salaries.
America needs around a million nurses over the next few years and applicants can apply for an immediate green card for themselves and their families.
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