Gordon Brown unveils tougher immigration rules for England
On Nov 12, 2009, the British PM Gordon Brown outlined plans to tighten the UK immigration rules. From his speech on immigration, the key points and policy changes include:
- Reduction in the number of professions recruited from outside Europe
- Limit the numbers on student visas
- Point Based citizenship
Reduction in the number of professions recruited from outside Europe
The PM promised a tougher market test that will force employers to recruit immigrants from outside the local workforce for a skilled job only if they can show that no suitably qualified settled worker can fill the role. The job vacancy must also be advertised for two weeks locally before an migrant can be recruited. In future, the job will have to be advertised for local employment for a month.
“I do want to ensure that we give British people looking for jobs the best chance of filling vacancies that arise as we come out of the downturn. But where there are vacancies that have been advertised here and are unfilled, it is necessary for businesses and for the economy to be able to recruit more widely.” The Prime Minister explained.
The PM Brown said that government-sanctioned training would be created to help unskilled British workers so they could ultimately take on the jobs in areas where there are skill shortages; jobs such as catering, medical and engineering.
Limit the numbers on student visas to England
The PM also outlined a policy to review student visas, and to consider the case for raising the minimum level of course for which a foreign student can apply in UK. Under this points system, all employers and colleges will be expected to obtain a licence to act as a sponsor for each immigrant and to ensure that they follow the rules.
Gordon Brown said that inspections of colleges approved to sponsor student applications has resulted in reduction of the number of institutions by more than half; the number has come down from 4,000 to 1,800 approved colleges. Also, UK has a temporary shut-down on applications for student visas from parts of China where there had been evidence of abuse.
Permanent Residency in UK:
The Prime Minister said that an immigrant cannot become UK citizen automatically after certain duration or after certain passage of time:
“The right to stay permanently will no longer follow automatically after living here for a certain number of years … Instead, we have said that after living here for five years, migrants will have to apply to become probationary citizens – and at that point they will have to pass a points-based test.”
All these changes are to support a new or a different way to handle immigration, the PM said:
“The changes I have set out today – the new points-based system on entry, and the proposed points-based system for citizenship – amount to far more than a different mechanism for handling immigration.”
“Together they constitute a fundamental reform of a decades old system – a reform founded on the British values of personal responsibility and civic duty. They are aimed at ensuring our economy continues to attract and retain the highly skilled workers we need, whilst reinforcing the rights and responsibilities of newcomers, and the expectations society has of them at every stage.”
So, there you have it. His speech basically outlines the policy changes toward a strict immigration rule for new skilled workers, more stringent entry laws for new students, and a point-based system for citizenship.
Source: The Guardian UK – Gordon Brown unveils tougher immigration rules