A raft of new government measures will ensure that resident workers can have every opportunity to fill vacancies before they are offered to workers abroad, the Home Secretary announced today.
Following careful consideration the Government has accepted the recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) last month to tighten up the rules controlling when skilled workers are allowed to take jobs in the UK under the Government's points system.
This will mean that from next year, all jobs must be advertised to British workers in Jobcentre Plus for four weeks, extended from two weeks, before companies can seek to employ individuals from outside Europe. This will ensure that British workers are not only first in line for jobs but also now have more time in which to apply.
The Government will also extend the qualifying period for all those overseas workers who want to transfer to work at the UK base of their company meaning that they must have worked for their firm for at least a year rather than just six months prior to the move.
The minimum salary that will allow an individual to qualify as a skilled worker and be eligible to work in the UK will also rise from £17,000 to £20,000.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:
"The introduction of the points based system has radically improved our ability to respond quickly to changing economic circumstances.
"We have now accepted all of the Migration Advisory 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.
"These changes will ensure that businesses can recruit the skilled foreign 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."
A total of sixteen recommendations were put forward by the Migration Advisory Committee, all of which will now be put in place to ensure that the points based system does more to support UK workers while continuing to facilitate the trade, travel, and study that benefits the UK.
In reaching this decision, the Government has been advised by informative discussions with businesses and key public service organisations and the Government will continue to work with business to develop a plan for implementing the recommendations.