Employers bringing migrant workers into the UK would have to provide private health insurance for them, under new government proposals.
The government has said it will bring net migration down to the “tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands”, the Telegraph has reported, and the private healthcare initiative is intended to avoid placing an undue burden on the NHS. Employers may also be required to set up apprenticeship schemes to prove they are working to upskill British workers.
The cap on migrant workers will come into effect in April 2011, but a temporary, smaller cap will take effect on 19 July, to prevent an early rush of applications. The government’s Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is to begin consulting with businesses to decide the level of the worker cap. Business leaders have already voiced fears the cap will hinder recruitment.
David Frost, director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “If restrictions on the entry of highly-skilled non-EU migrants are too strict, there could be damage to the economy and to future economic growth. It is absolutely essential to get the balance right.”