Points-based immigration criteria scheme launched

A new points-based immigration system, similar to that used by Australia, has been launched by the Home Secretary.

The points based system is a central part of the Government's five year strategy for asylum and immigration, which was published in February 2005, and aims to ensure that only those who benefit Britain can come here to work or study.

The scheme will be complemented with a tougher approach from British embassies abroad to weed out false applications and will place increased obligations on UK businesses and universities who will now be required to sponsor migrants and help to ensure that those they sponsor adhere to the terms of their visa.

The system will consolidate more than 80 existing work and study routes into five tiers, with highly skilled workers given priority and categories for students, those on working holidays and low-skilled workers. The latter will only be permitted to enter the UK if there is demand for temporary labour, while skilled workers such as nurses and teachers will only be granted entry if they have a job offer.

Points will be awarded to reflect aptitude, experience, age and also the level of need in any given sector, to allow the UK to respond flexibly to changes in the labour market.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said: "Managed migration is in the interest of the UK. Today's announcement sets out the Government's policy to deliver a firm but fair, simpler, more transparent and more rigorous system, which will benefit our economy and protect our borders.

"Crucially, it will allow us to ensure that only those people with the skills the UK needs come to this country while preventing those without these skills applying. Foreign workers or students will also in future need a UK sponsor to vouch for them, ensuring that businesses and colleges take responsibility for making sure foreign workers and students comply with visa rules.”

The Conservatives welcomed the proposals, but cast doubt on whether the government would be able to make the scheme work effectively.


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