UK jobs open to migrants unveiled
November 11, 2008
The government says it will get tough on firms employing illegal workers
The list of jobs open to immigrants from outside the European Union has been published by the UK government.
Ministers say it will cut by 200,000 the jobs available to non-EU workers.
It includes maths and science teachers and specialist nurses and vets among others, in line with recommendations of an expert panel.
But it also includes 100,000 social workers – a job which the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) originally ruled was not in short supply.
In its report in September, the MAC said there was no evidence from the field that there was a shortage of social workers in the UK.
But the government has ordered the committee to reconsider its verdict after “new evidence” of a shortage had came to light from the social work sector. They must report again in March 2009.
The shortage occupation list replaces the current work permit system and is a central plank of the government's new points-based migration system, which comes into effect on 27 November.
SHORTAGE JOBS :
Dancers and choreographers
Ship and hovercraft officers
Pipe fitters and line repairers
Immigration minister Phil Woolas claimed it would restrict the number of people coming into the UK to work and allow the government to “raise or lower the bar according to the needs of business and taking population trends into account”.
Workers from European Union countries, with the exception of Bulgaria and Romania, will remain free to take any jobs in the UK.
Wealthy investors, or university-educated people earning more than 40,000 or its local equivalent, from outside the European Economic Area will be able to come to the UK to search for work under “tier one” of the points based system.
For skilled jobs, companies must pass the resident labour market test by advertising the vacancies within the EU for two weeks before they casting their net further afield.
But if the job is on the shortage list the company will not need to pass the test.
Jobs on the list include hospital consultants, vets, scientists, nurses, quantity surveyors, engineers, dancers and choreographers, ship and hovercraft officers, pipe fitters, line repairers, chefs and care assistants.
There is a separate list for Scotland, which includes all the occupations on the UK list, as well as manual filleters of frozen fish, senior nurses in care of the elderly units, and speech and language therapists.
The MAC has now been asked to look at whether senior care workers, qualified town planners, skilled chefs and teachers in subjects other than maths and science should be included on the list.
The government has refused to say how many migrant workers it expects to enter the UK through the shortage occupation route.
But it says about 800,000 people are currently employed in the jobs listed, which it claims is less than the 1 million covered by the current work permit system.
But critics, including a cross-party group on migration, say the existing migrant labour test is being ignored by many firms, with thousands of British jobs going to non-EU workers without being advertised in the UK.
The group is calling for Tier One to be suspended to prevent migrant workers “coming to the UK without any job to go to” and says the new Tier Two rules are not stringent enough.
The group's co-chairman, Labour MP Frank Field, said: “The government say that they are about to introduce a 'tough' points based system.
“In fact, in the new economic circumstances, it is not nearly tough enough.”
He added: “At a time of rising unemployment, why on earth is the government advertising 800,000 jobs to people from outside the EU”.
Chris Huhne, for the Liberal Democrats, said: “Stricter rules governing working visas will be undermined unless the government reintroduces exit checks.
“There is little point in tightening the rules if no one is checking whether visitors are leaving the country when they are supposed to.”
The Conservatives have backed calls for the points based system to be suspended amid concerns business is not adequately prepared for it and that it is open to fraud.
The Immigration Law Practitioners Association is urging both Houses of Parliament to “pray against” the points based system – a technical procedure which could send it back for further consideration.
The group says only 745 organisations have registered as sponsors of potential immigrants under the points based system, compared with the thousands signed up to the work permit scheme.
And “in the rush to get the system up and running, UK Border Agency Staff have stopped carrying out audits on employers before registering them as sponsors”, the group claimed.
This opens the system up to exploitation by unscrupulous firms and even human traffickers, ILPA argues.
It also argues that the points-based scheme, which demands fees from applicants under Tier Two, discriminates against the poorest countries.
Applicants from Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda, for example, would “need to have the equivalent of over 18,000 in their bank accounts for three months”, it says.