Britain to follow Australia's immigration example
The Sydney Morning Herald
April 19, 2007 – 6:16AM
Britain will next year adopt an Australian-style model for restricting immigration to those with skills in need.
British Immigration Minister Liam Byrne unveiled the timetable for introducing the points-based system during a fact-finding visit to Australia, which uses a similar model to attract migrants with in-demand skills and reject those who would compete with local workers for unskilled jobs.
“With the exception of an elite group of highly-skilled migrants, all other foreign workers or students will need a UK sponsor to vouch for them and help us make sure they are playing by the rules,” Mr Byrne was quoted as saying in The Guardian newspaper.
Under the system, would-be migrants would need to amass a certain number of points according to their skills and sector gaps in the UK.
It was first announced by Home Secretary John Reid last year and will replace more than 80 routes of entry to the UK with five tiers for workers with different skill levels.
The first tier, for highly-skilled migrants such as scientists and entrepreneurs, will be launched at the beginning of next year.
It will be followed later in 2008 by new tiers for skilled workers such as nurses, teachers and engineers with job offers, temporary workers and young people on working holidays.
A further tier for students will begin at the start of 2009.
The announcement comes ahead of Thursday's publication of official statistics which The Times newspaper predicted would show net migration into Britain of 185,000 in 2005.
The figure is down from the previous year's 222,600, but four times the level in 1997.
Writing in a pamphlet due out later this month and widely reported in British media on Wednesday, Mr Byrne warned uncontrolled migration could damage the poorest communities.
He said while migration had made the UK richer, it had also “unsettled the country”.
Mr Byrne is attending an international conference on immigration issues in Sydney.