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Migrant workers face tougher test to work in the United Kingdom

Posted on March 6, 2009
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Measures to raise the bar for foreign workers wishing to enter the United Kingdom, and to give domestic workers a greater chance of applying first for United Kingdom jobs, were unveiled by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith today.

Jacqui Smith pledged to use the flexibility built into the points-based system (PBS) to respond to changing economic circumstances – helping British workers through the hard times of the recession.

The Government has already suspended tier 3 of the PBS to ensure no foreign national from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) can come to the United Kingdom and work in a low-skilled job.

Jacqui Smith announced three significant changes to support British workers and to be more selective about the migrants coming to the United Kingdom from outside the EEA. From 1 April the Government will:

strengthen the resident labour market test for tier 2 skilled jobs so that employers must advertise jobs to resident workers through Job Centre Plus before they can bring in a worker from outside Europe;use each shortage occupation list to trigger skills reviews that focus on up-skilling resident workers for these occupations, which will make the United Kingdom less dependent on migration for the future; and tighten new criteria against which highly skilled migrants seeking entry to the United Kingdom are judged, by raising the qualifications and salary required for tier 1 (General) of the PBS to a Master’s degree and a minimum salary of £20,000.

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