Immigration system ‘needs tuning’

The Government’s new points-based system for managing migration may favour recent graduates with paper qualifications over workers with long professional experience and ability, a report warned. Skip related content 

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Immigration system ‘needs tuning’

The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee gave a “cautious welcome” to the implementation of the system, introduced last year, which is intended to ensure that migrants from outside the EU gain entry to the UK only if they have skills which are needed for the British economy.

But it said that changes are needed to fine tune the way in which points are allocated for different professions and skills, as well as the compliance responsibilities for companies recruiting from overseas.

The committee questioned why occupations such as “ballet dancer”, which do not fit into the normal procedure for assessing skills shortages in the economy, should be kept on a separate list attracting additional points.

And committee chairman Keith Vaz challenged a special exemption for football players which means they are not required to be able to speak English to work in the UK.

With the number of job vacancies in the UK falling by a third over the last year to its lowest level since records started in 2001, the cross-party committee said it was “obvious and right” that employers should seek to recruit from the UK labour market before looking abroad.

The report acknowledged that there was a “genuine shortage” of skills in certain areas which must be filled by short-term recruitment from outside Europe in order to avoid damage to Britain’s international competitiveness.

But it said that the Government’s priority must be on retraining the British workforce, saying that it must “redouble its efforts to link skills shortages to training”.

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