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November 13, 2009

UK curbs on student visas, migrant skilled workers

     London: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced tough new rules on student visas and cut the number of skilled foreign workers allowed into Britain, thereby acknowledging public concerns over the high immigration levels in the country at present. While arguing that attracting talented migrants remained crucial to Britain's prosperity, Brown said it was foolish to ignore the risks and costs of immigration. In his first major speech on the issue for two years, Brown said it was "lazy elitism" to portray people with worries about immigration as racist. According to The Independent, the planned clampdown on student visas is aimed at bogus colleges offering non EU-nationals an easy route into Britain. Ministers are preparing to raise the minimum level of a course for which visas are granted and to introduce English language tests before they are given out. Brown also raised the prospect of tougher rules on foreign students taking part-time jobs that "would be better filled by young British workers". He said the range of jobs available to skilled foreign workers would be reduced by tens of thousands. From next year all vacancies for hospital consultants, civil engineers, aircraft engineers and ship's officers will have to be filled from within Britain and the EU, with other engineering posts, skilled chefs and care workers expected to join the list shortly afterwards. Employers and colleges have warned of the potential economic impact of limiting skilled workers in the wake of this move by the government.
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