08 September 2009

New changes to UK immigration rules to improve economy

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New government immigration measures are being introduced to ensure the UK economy remains strong and skilled migrants who are offered positions in the UK fill genuinely needed skills shortages.

The changes mean that, starting from next year, all jobs must be advertised to British workers in Jobcentre Plus for four weeks - instead of the previous two weeks - before companies can seek to employ individuals from outside Europe.

The government hopes this will ensure that British workers are first in line for jobs and also have more time in which to apply.

The recent changes are part of a wider immigration processing upgrade, which included the implimentation of a points-based immigration system.

"The new points-based system has greatly improved the UK's ability to respond quickly to changing economic circumstances," said Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

The government has accepted the recommendations made last month by the Migration Advisory Committee in regards to UK immigration rules controlling when skilled workers are allowed to take jobs in the United Kingdom.

Other changes include the extention of the qualifying period for all those overseas workers who want to transfer to work at their company's United Kingdom base. Employees in this situation applying for a UK work permit  (Intra-Company Transfer category) will need to have worked for their firm for at least a year - rather than six months as at present - before they can transfer to the UK.

In addition, the minimum salary qualifing an individual as a skilled worker and be eligible to work in the United Kingdom will rise from £17,000 to £20,000.

"We have now accepted all of the committee's recommendations and we will continue to work with them to make sure that we use the flexibility in the points-based system to the best advantage of society and the economy," Home Secretary Alan Johnson said.

"These changes will ensure that businesses can recruit the skilled workers that the economy needs, but not at the expense of British workers, nor as a cheaper alternative to investing in the skills of the existing workforce."

All of the 16 recommendations by the Migration Advisory Committee will now be put in place  to ensure that the points-based system supports United Kingdom workers as well as facilitating trade, travel, and study to the United Kingdom.

Changes to immigration rules are common, so it is advisible to keep abreast of changes by reading the UK Visa Bureau news and UK blog regularly.

 The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK immigration and UK work permit applications.

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