Monday, December 7, 2009
The number of jobs available to foreign workers through the shortage occupation route will be reduced, the Government announced on 11th November.
The shortage occupation list sets out those jobs for which there are not enough resident workers, and will be used as part of the skilled worker tier (Tier 2) of the Australian-style points system, which will be launched on 27 November.
Tier 2 of the points system will ensure that British jobseekers get the first shot at jobs and only those foreign workers we need will be able to come to the United Kingdom.
Recent Government work to ensure British workers are skilled and competitive means that many of the previous gaps in the labour market have been filled. As a result, today's list is tighter than ever before and will see a reduction of more than 200,000 positions in occupations with shortages that need be filled by migrant workers.
The number of positions available to migrants has been reduced from one million to just under 800,000, ensuring that only those foreign workers we need - and no more - can come here.
Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said:
"The Australian-style points system is flexible, allowing us to raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and taking population trends into account.
"Had the points system been in place last year there would have been 12 per cent fewer people coming in to work through the equivalent work permit route. On top of this, the strict new shortage list means 200,000 fewer jobs are available via the shortage occupation route."
Under Tier 2 companies must pass the Resident Labour Market test by proving they cannot fill the post with a resident worker before they can bring in someone from outside the EEA. If the job is on the shortage list the company will not need to pass the test.
The Government publishes the shortage occupation list following advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC). Their recommended list has been adopted in full - with the addition of social workers, who will remain on the list while further evidence is considered by the MAC.
Further Education Minister Sion Simon said:
"This Government is making an unprecedented investment in skills and training to ensure that United Kingdom residents do not lose out to overseas workers or see jobs go abroad because of a lack of skills.
"We have recently made a number of funding deals with employers, worth £630 million over three years, to give them greater access to flexible, bespoke training aimed at tackling skills shortages in their sectors.
"The deals cover sectors such as catering, hospitality and construction."
To get in under Tier 2 skilled foreign workers must have:
English language skills;
prospective earnings of more than £24,000, or slightly less if they have a decent qualification - or an offer of a job on the shortage list;
enough money to support themselves for the first month of their stay.
Employers will need to get a sponsor licence to enable them to bring migrant workers into the country from outside the European Economic Area. They will be checked out by the UK Border Agency and will sign up to certain duties. This means that Government will share the responsibility for migrant workers with those who benefit from them. The Home Office last week helped businesses to prepare for the changes by publishing detailed guidance on Tiers 2 and 5 (skilled workers and temporary workers respectively) of the system.
The tough points system is just one part of the biggest shake up to immigration and border security in 45 years, along with the fingerprinting of anyone travelling to the UK on a visa and compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals.
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