British and EU workers to get first look at skilled jobs
New proposals announced by home secretary John Reid will mean that skilled jobs will have to be advertised to British and European workers first, before being offered to migrants from other areas.
The exception to this will be if the role in question is in an area facing skills shortages, and deciding which roles will fall into this category will be one of the tasks designated to a new migration advisory committee to be set up next year.
In dealing with the skills shortages, the committee will also be required to consider whether alternative measures, such as providing incentives for employers to train British workers instead, would be possible, the Guardian reports.
The advisory committee, to be made up of prominent figures in business as well as union leaders, would also propose an annual quota on the number of lower-skilled migrants allowed into Britain, Mr Reid said.
A new points-based immigration system will also be introduced, which would cover highly-skilled, lower-skilled, students and temporary workers.
Recent research from the Centre for Economic and Business Research and Harvey Nash estimates that skilled migrant workers contribute £54 billion per year to the UK economy.