From today, a temporary limit on the amount of people from outside Europe who can work in the UK comes into force.
This limit will operate until March 2011 when a permanent limit comes into effect. The government is consulting business about what the permanent limit should be.
Immigration minister Damian Green said, ‘The interim measures we have put in place will ensure that the number of work visas issued will stay below 2009 levels while we consult on our tough new limit.
‘Alongside our limits will be action to get people back to work and provide business with the skills they need from the British workforce – reducing the need for migrants at the same time as we reduce their number.’
Under the interim limit, the number of highly skilled people without a job offer entering the country is 5,400. To raise standards in this category of the government’s points-based system, the pass mark for eligibility will rise by five points.
Meanwhile, the number of skilled migrants allowed to enter the country with a job offer is 18,700.
These figures equate to a five percent reduction when compared to the same period last year.
A consultation with business will help determine a permanent limit. The Home Secretary has also asked the Migration Advisory Committee, the government’s independent adviser on migration issues, to launch a separate consultation looking at social and economic impacts.