08 March 2006

Australia inspires UK immigration reform

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Charles Clark, the UK Home Secretary, has announced his plans for a 5-tier immigration system for the United Kingdom. The proposed system is based on Australia’s streamlined and points-based immigration process.

The new 5-tier system will only allow skilled workers to settle permanently, with those in the bottom tiers, allowed entry for a period of up to a year. Points will be awarded for education, skill, age, previous earnings and whether applicants have a job offer.

Low skilled workers will enter the country only if a skills shortage in particular sector of the economy is found. These tiers will not be allowed to bring in children and spouses. Additionally, low skilled workers may have to provide a bond or possess a return ticket.

Mr Clarke said the new policy was crucial to the country’s economic success as it will allow only those with skills into the country.

Overall, the points based scheme has been well received by ministers and shadow ministers. The new system could be in place as early as 2008.

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