Skilled migrants to be charged to enter UK

Workers
applying to come to the UK under the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP)
will have to pay £150 from 31 October 2003, the Home Office announced today.

The
HSMP was set up in January 2002 as a route for particularly talented people to
apply to work in the UK.

It
differs from the work permit scheme in that it does not require an employer to
obtain a work permit for the individual. Applicants are assessed on a points
system on their qualifications, earning ability and experience.

Home
Office minister, Beverley Hughes, said: "The Highly Skilled Migrant
Programme has made an extremely encouraging start with 3,721 talented people
now working in the UK in fields as diverse as medicine, music, and
engineering."

"The
Government welcomes those with the skills to help the UK prosper both
economically and culturally," she said.

By Michael Millar

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