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Recession: UK cuts jobs for foreigners

April 30, 2009 13:29 IST

Responding to global economic downturn and job losses, a key Home Office committee has cut the number and categories of jobs available for migrants from outside the European Union, including from India.

The Migration Advisory Committee said 270,000 less posts should be on the 'shortage list' of jobs, which allows employers to bring in foreign workers without trying to fill them with British staff first.

In the latest review published on Thursday, construction workers and quantity surveyors were suspended from the list because unemployment among workers in those professions has risen by 500 per cent as a result of the downturn.

Social workers dealing with adults have also been taken off and it will be made harder to bring in care assistants and chefs.

However, orchestral musicians, computer animation specialists and contemporary dancers were added to the list because Britain is not producing enough talented candidates, the report revealed.

According to the review, the employment rate of immigrants from India has risen by 3.6 per cent and the rate for immigrants born in Bangladesh or Pakistan increased by 2.6 per cent over the year to October-December 2008.

The ability to bring in foreign talent is needed to maintain Britain's 'global leadership', MAC chairman Professor David Metcalf said.

Metcalf said: "We had to respond to the troubled times and the turmoil in the labour market. The main issue that we want to get across is we have responded to the downturn and we have immediately suspended two major occupations."

He said that the expert committee will complete a full review of all the occupations on its list by September. It will look closely at seasonal workers such as chefs and engineers.

Maths and science teachers, currently on the list, are also likely to face scrutiny, to see if laid-off financial workers are taking those jobs.

The government is likely to accept most, if not all, of the recommendations.

Prasun Sonwalkar in London
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