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Come here, work, go home: UK tells migrants

As part of continuing efforts to reduce migration from India and other countries outside the European Union, the David Cameron government today announced proposals that seek to prevent foreign professionals from settling in the United Kingdom permanently.

world Updated: Jun 09, 2011 22:23 IST

As part of continuing efforts to reduce migration from India and other countries outside the European Union, the David Cameron government on Thursday announced proposals that seek to prevent foreign professionals from settling in the United Kingdom permanently.

The proposals, announced in a consultation exercise, will affect Indian skilled workers as well as domestic workers such as cooks and ayahs, who travel to Britain with their employers.

Immigration minister Damian Green said: "We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK, make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home."

Campaign groups said that if foreign professionals were not allowed to settle here permanently, they would rather migrate to countries such as Canada and Australia.

Amit Kapadia of the Highly Skilled Migrants Forum told PTI that it will launch a protest against the plans.

India is among three countries mentioned in the consultation document from where the most number of overseas domestic workers come to Britain; the other two are the Philippines and Indonesia.

The tighter rules will also affect diplomats from India and other non-EU countries posted her who bring along their domestic help.

Under current rules, migrants who work in Britain for five years are allowed to settle here permanently.

The proposals seek to break this link between working and automatic permanent settlement, except for a limited number of high worth individuals.

The plans include re-classifying UK visas as either 'temporary' or 'permanent' and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay.

Green said that the proposals were aimed at "breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration."

He said: "Settlement has become almost automatic for those who choose to stay. This needs to change. The immigration system has got to be made to work properly.

"We want the brightest and best workers to come to the UK, make a strong contribution to our economy while they are here, and then return home."

The consultation proposes that people earning over 150,000 pounds or doing jobs that have a specific economic or social value to the UK be allowed to stay in the country permanently.

Plans include a new category to allow most exceptionally talented skilled workers to apply to stay after a three-year period in the UK.

Home secretary Theresa May said: "I shall break that link and return to a position where Britain will continue to attract the brightest and best workers, who will make a strong contribution to our economy and society during their stay, then return home.

A small number of exceptional migrants will be able to stay permanently but for the majority, coming here to work will not lead automatically to settlement in the UK.