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UK's system woos workers

The UK will initiate a points-based immigration system to encourage highly skilled workers.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2006 10:58 IST

Britain will initiate a new Australia-style points-based system for immigration that is expected to make it easier for highly skilled workers from non-European countries including India to come to the UK.

A similar points-based system is in operation for entry into the US and Australia, under which potential immigrants need to total a certain number of points to qualify. The points are based on criteria such as age, qualifications and experience.

The system was announced in February last year when much concern was expressed by the opposition Conservative party over the allegedly liberal immigration policies of Prime Minister Tony Blair's government.

Home secretary Charles Clarke told the BBC Radio 4's Today programme Tuesday that the new regime would simplify the movement of people into and out of Britain and replace 80 different routes into the country.

It would work in partnership with employers and universities and in conjunction with the introduction of biometric visas, resident's permits and passports, he said.

"The precise reason for this points-based system is instead of this very complex set of routes we have a very clear route. People will be able to apply online and fill in the forms. We will have a much better control of the situation," he said.

The new system will be applicable for citizens of non-European Union countries, including India. Under the new system, potential immigrants will be categorised under four categories:

Tier One - Highly skilled migrants including doctors, engineers, IT specialists and finance experts will be the only group able to come to Britain without a job offer.

Tier Two - Skilled workers with NVQ level 3 or A-Level equivalent qualifications such as nurses, teachers and administrators will be able to come if they work in an area where the UK has shortages, although a job offer will not necessarily guarantee entry.

Tier Three - Low-skilled workers will be granted entry to fill specific job vacancies for fixed periods, with guarantees that they will leave at the end of their stay.

Tier Four - Students and special sectors such as sports people and employees of international companies based in the UK.

First Published: Mar 08, 2006 10:58 IST