New rules are first step towards a points-based system for foreign workers

The first step towards a points-based system for managing migration was launched today with the introduction of new rules for highly-skilled foreign workers applying to come to the UK.

The new test means entrepreneurs and professionals will face a rigorous test of their capability to work here and will help select migrants who will be the most successful in benefiting Britain’s economy.

The change to the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) comes as immigration minister Liam Byrne launched an Employers’ Taskforce to develop the points-based system’s tough new sponsorship rules. These will play a vital role in preventing abuse of the immigration system by ensuring industry checks that their overseas staff and international students have a right to work.

Byrne said: “Our new Employers’ Taskforce will help good employers set the rules that drive out the bad apples. Businesses and colleges benefit from having foreign nationals work or study with them, so they have a special responsibility to help us get the rules right.”

As part of the work of the taskforce, members will be asked to discuss a range of issues including fines for employers, seizing assets of persistent offenders, disbarring company officers who knowingly employ illegal workers and their sponsorship responsibilities.

John Cridland, CBI’s deputy director-general, said: “Employers want to see a streamlined and transparent points-based migration system that will attract highly-skilled migrants to the UK for the benefit of the economy.

“We welcome the Home Office’s new taskforce and hope that it gives employers a clear voice in this debate moving forward.”

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