New points system for economic migrants

Overseas migrants with exceptional skills, abilities or
experience will be able to apply to come to the UK to seek work under the new
Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP), Home Office minister Lord Rooker
announced yesterday.

From January applications will be assessed on a points-based
system of qualifications and experience. To be considered for the scheme an
applicant will need to obtain a minimum of 75 points from five scoring areas
including educational qualifications, work experience, past earnings and achievement
in chosen field.

Rooker said, “At the moment it is not possible for
individuals, other than those with ancestral ties to the UK, to come to this
country to seek and take up work without a job offer. This makes it difficult
to attract highly mobile people with the special talents that are required in a
modern economy. This programme is specifically designed to help highly skilled
migrants come to the UK and seek work.”

HSMP differs from the work permit scheme as it does not
require an employer to obtain a permit from the individual. It is also differs
from existing business routes because t does not require a detailed business
plan or investment in the UK.

There will also be a specific category that will help the
recruitment of suitably qualified overseas doctors to work as GPs in the UK.

Rooker said, “This programme represents a further step in
developing our Immigration system to maximise the benefits to the UK of highly
skilled workers who have the qualifications and skills required by UK
businesses to compete in the global marketplace. 

“It will allow eminent scientists to base their research
projects here, should encourage the movement of business and financial experts
to the City of London and give those at the top of their chosen profession the
choice of making the United Kingdom their home.”

The programme will run for an initial period of 12 months
and will begin on 28 January 2002.

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