Foreigners with skills and money are to be allowed to enter the UK to seekjobs.
The new policy will be based on a points system and is intended to attracthighly skilled and high-earning migrants to fill skills shortages. Applicantsusing the new system, which begins next month, will be given points linked totheir educational qualifications, work experience and past earnings.
The Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, which starts next month, offersadmission to applicants who gain at least 75 points on its scale.
Points will be awarded for educational qualifications, work experience, pastearnings and achievement in chosen field. There is also a specific category toboost the recruitment of GPs.
People holding a PhD will gain 30 points, those with a master's degree 25points and graduates 15 points. At least five years' work experience in agraduate-level job would score 15 points.
Income points have been adjusted to take account of differing pay scalesaround the world. Someone earning £250,000 a year in America would get 50points - the same score as a £90,000 annual salary in Nigeria.
Lord Rooker, a Home Office minister, said: "At the moment it is notpossible for individuals, other than those with ancestral ties to the UK, tocome to this country to seek and take up work without a job offer. This makes itdifficult to attract highly mobile people with the special talents that arerequired in a modern economy.
He added: "It will allow eminent scientists to base their researchprojects here, should encourage the movement of business and financial expertsto the City of London and give those at the top of their chosen profession thechoice of making the United Kingdom their home."
Applications under the scheme must also be made before entry though therewill be opportunities for overseas students graduating from British universitiesto apply to the Home Office. Successful applicants will be granted leave toenter the country for one year, and after this further leave to remain will begranted if they have a steady job and can look after themselves and theirfamilies.
There will be no limit on the number allowed to enter under the systemannounced yesterday.
The scheme, the first part of Home Secretary David Blunkett’s plan formanaged migration, is to be followed next year by a similar one for low skilledmigrants.
If you would like more details of this programme please go to our report covering this programme.