Gordon Brown has announced new measures for controlling immigration including reducing the number of professions which can recruit from outside Europe.
The UK Prime Minister said net migration was already being cut and that these changes would ensure this continues while maintaining “flexibility”.
He also promised to make it harder for illegal workers to enter the UK by obtaining student visas.
Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP, set out the case for the United Kingdom’s “tough but fair” immigration system in a speech in west London this week.
In his first major speech on immigration since February 2008, the Prime Minister focused on the importance of getting British workers rather than migrant workers to fill skills gaps where possible.
Mr Brown emphasised that migrants must “accept the responsibilities that come with living in the United Kingdom – obeying the law, speaking English, and making a contribution”.
He also talked about new measures to tighten entry under the points-based system.
The new measures include the tightening of immigration rules to cut numbers of migrant workers. The Prime Minister said this year 30,000 occupations had been removed from a list of “in-demand skills” which the United Kingdom needs, but did not explain how these posts are being filled.
He added that thousands more posts from the list of those eligible for entry under the points-based system would be removed in the coming months, which suggests that the government appears to be instructing the Migration Advisory Committee, set up to advise the government on where shortage occupations exist, rather than taking its advice?
Engineers, skilled chefs and care workers could be among the professions affected.
Delisting these occupations, on the advice of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), will make it much more difficult for workers from outside Europe to take up such posts in the United Kingdom under the points-based system.
Mr Brown said:
‘Immigration is not an issue for fringe parties nor a taboo subject – it is a question at the heart of our politics, a question about what it means to be British; about the values we hold dear and the responsibilities we expect of those coming into our country; about how we secure the skills we need to compete in the global economy; about how we preserve and strengthen our communities.’
The Prime Minister’s immigration speech actually contained very little that has not already been published by the Home Office.
The proposed review of student visas come just months after the launch of Tier 4, for student visas, of the points-based system.
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