The current system has meant that almost anyone who has been working in the UK for five years is eligible to apply to stay permanently.
Launching a public consultation on reforms to the work routes leading to settlement today, the immigration minister also set out plans to re-classify visas as either ‘temporary’ or ‘permanent’ and introduce stricter criteria for those who want to stay.
Temporary not permanent
Damian Green said that the proposals are aimed at ‘breaking the link between temporary and permanent migration.’
He added: ‘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 also proposes:
- letting people earning over £150,000 or doing jobs that have a specific economic or social value to the UK stay in the country permanently
- creating a new category to allow most exceptionally talented skilled workers to apply to stay after a three year period in the UK
- allowing skilled workers who do not switch into a settlement route, to stay for a maximum of five years on the basis that they will then leave the UK
The closing date for the consultation is 9 September 2011.
Find out how to comment on the online consultation on the UK Border Agency website.