24 October 2007

Sweeping changes set for UK immigration

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UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne recently set out a year long program of "sweeping changes" to Britain's current immigration system and strategy during a speech to education, business, and local government representatives.

The announcement came following recent accusations aimed at the current UK immigration process and its failure to properly serve the country's economic demands, especially in light of the skills crisis currently affecting a number of UK industries.

As part of his presentation, Byrne declared that: "In 12 months time our immigration system will have changed out of all recognition. From next year, a points-based system, modelled on the success of Australia, will ensure that only people Britain needs can come here to work and study."

The new points based immigration policy, scheduled to take effect in 2008, introduces a tier system based on the skill level of the migrant.  The UK has already seen some success in recent years with a points-based visa process, thanks to the popular HSMP visa ensuring a steady steam of skilled migrants to aid UK occupations in demand.

The UK's shift towards the Australian model comes as little surprise to migration experts, as their skilled migrant programme is generally regarded as one of the best in the world, having already influenced immigration system changes of countries such as Canada and New Zealand.

Further measures to ensure that only legal migrants will be allowed entry include the introduction of a system of fingerprint visas for foreign nationals. Said Mr Byrne: "Three quarters of the world's population will need fingerprint visas: a system which gives us tougher checks abroad. A single border force with new powers will deliver tougher policing at our ports and airports and we'll start to count people in and out of the country."

Anyone interested in getting a better understanding of their current position under UK visa regulations should request a call from a qualified UK Visa Bureau migration consultant to see if they are eligible for migration to the UK, or call direct on Freephone 0800 043 7011.  Alternatively, HSMP visa hopefuls should try taking the HSMP online assessment.

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