Hundreds of fitness trainers, PR executives and IT workers allow to work in UK
Hundreds of fitness trainers, public relations executives and chefs from outside Europe have been allowed to work in Britain under Labour's “tough” immigration rules.
By Martin Beckford
Published: 8:00AM BST 07 Aug 2010
Official figures show that dozens of estate agents, journalists and hairdressers have also been granted visas, despite restrictions on posts being taken by foreigners that could have been filled by Britons.
There are fears that multinational firms are exploiting a loophole that allows intra-company transfers to bring cheap contractors in from abroad rather than offering jobs to more expensive native workers.
James Clappison, the Conservative MP who obtained the figures in parliamentary questions, told BBC News: If you look at people who are coming in, they are meant to be in high-powered professions, but there a lot of jobs people in this country could do.
Under the points-based immigration system introduced by Labour in November 2008, the Home Office allows workers to enter the country freely from outside the European Economic Area if they are on a list of highly skilled professions such as scientists and entrepreneurs.
Other workers must have a valid certificates of sponsorship from their employer, and companies are only meant to take on foreign staff if they are on an official list of occupations where there is a shortage such as doctors and engineers or if they have failed to find a suitable candidate based in Britain.
Figures show that 139,150 such certificates of sponsorship were granted between November 2008 and July 2010.
Of these, 34,365 were given to people working in IT such as software professionals even though they are not on the shortage list.
A further 1,295 have gone to fitness instructors and others in sporting occupations; 3,475 to chefs and cooks; and 30 to hair and beauty salon managers.
In addition, 30 psychologists from outside the EU have been allowed to work in Britain along with 100 public relations officers; 225 managers in advertising or PR; 15 estate agents; 50 farmers; 90 butchers and 185 waiters and waitresses.
However the figures do not state how long the workers remained in Britain, and many are likely to have only visited Britain for conferences or other one-off events.
The data show that 21,000 certificates were given to musicians, most likely those planning tours of Britain or appearing at festivals, along with 1,115 artists and 2,150 members of the clergy.
A separate list obtained by Mr Clappison discloses that 17,920 work permits have been given to migrants from Bulgaria and Romania, for whom normal rules on EU workers do not apply.
These include 380 polo grooms and 50 polo players; 15 circus artistes and the same number of fashion models; five DJs and the same number of film actors; and 1,200 catering managers.
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