Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ahead of elections, UK tightens immigration policies

London: It's a move that could adversely impact non-EU migrants, including those from India.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in his first speech in 18 months on immigration, vowed to 'tighten' immigration rules further to restrict the number of professionals coming into the UK.

Brown called for the removal of occupations like engineers, hospital consultants, skilled chefs and care workers from the current occupation list.

"So we favour, a tough but fair approach, rooted in a points system, under which we decide what catergory of skills are to be allowed into this country. This combines the flexibility and control that is right, with a continued commitment to strong borders and a rigorous enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration, " said Gordon Brown

Brown also announced a review of the student visa system that could make rules stricter for overseas students. This may mean restricting visas for short courses and also limiting part-time work rules for incoming students. Around 31,000 Indian students are currently studying in the UK.

New immigration rules, which have been announced earlier, also include extending the point based system to citizenship.

Experts say that while overhauling the immigration system is justified, given the economic downturn and high local unemployment, they warn that the new rules may be more unfair towards non-EU migrants, while it's the influx of migrants from within the European Union that needs to be controlled. With election just months away, the debate on immigration is just heating up.

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