High earners exempt from British immigration cap

16th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

High-earning migrant workers from outside the European Union will be excluded from a new immigration cap imposed by Britain, the government said Wednesday.

Bankers, lawyers and anyone earning above £150,000 (240,000 dollars, 180,000 euros) a year will be allowed in over and above a monthly limit on skilled workers to be introduced in April, immigration minister Damian Green said.

Aside from high earners, priority will be given to scientists and those with jobs where there is a shortage of staff in Britain.

Chemists, biochemists, physicists, geologists and research and development managers will be at a "significant advantage" if they apply, Green said.

Britain unveiled the new measures last year to cut net migration from about 200,000 to the tens of thousands by 2015.

Green said the new rules would only apply to new applicants and not those already in Britain.

He also announced that any migrants wanting to settle in Britain would have to be clear of any criminal convictions.

"If you're here and you want to settle and you commit a criminal offence, you won't be able to," Green said. "Straightforward."

Outlining the plans to limit the number of skilled workers coming to Britain from outside the EU each year to 20,700, Green said: "Britain needs to attract the brightest and the best to fill jobs gaps but this should never be at the expense of workers already here.

"We have worked closely with businesses while designing this system and made it clear employers should look first to people who are out of work and who are already in this country."

Each applicant will require a certificate of sponsorship from their prospective employer and applications will be ranked on a points system.

The most points will be awarded for jobs on the shortage occupation list, those requiring a PhD and high earners.

© 2011 AFP

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