Proposals To Cut Number Of Migrant Workers

Proposals to cut number of migrant workers

One in ten fewer skilled migrant workers will be allowed to come to the UK under proposals from the Governments key advisers.

By Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Editor
Published: 2:27PM BST 19 Aug 2009

A series of restrictions should be placed on foreign workers to stop British workers losing out, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) said.

It comes as concerns are high over the scale of migrant labour and its impact on jobs during the recession.

But the proposals will only affect around 5,000 people a year, Professor David Metcalfe, the MAC chairman admitted.

It also emerged that employers are undercutting British workers by exploiting a tax loophole to bring in foreign staff on lower wages.

Some staff brought in under so-called intra-company transfers are given part of their wage in allowances meaning it is not taxable, enabling the company to pay less without reducing the amount of money the worker receives.

The MAC examined the effectiveness of Tier 2 of the points-based system, which focuses on skilled migrant workers such as nurses, IT staff, engineers.

Some 69,000 such migrants came to the UK last year and it is expected around 50,000 will arrive this year.

But the MAC has recommended additional restrictions to cut numbers even further.

They include making companies advertise jobs for four weeks instead of two before being allowed to employ migrants and raising the minimum wages they can earn to meet the necessary points requirement.

Those coming in through intra-company transfers should also be barred from using it as a route to permanent residence and to have worked for the company for a year instead of six months.

Prof Metcalfe said such moves would cut numbers by a further ten per cent.

The Home Office is considering the reports findings.