UK - Migrants could get easier access to highly skilled jobs

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The UK Telegraph is reporting that the Home Office may plan to relax rules for highly paid foreign workers from outside the European Union. Starting in July 2008, employers in the United Kingdom will no longer have to advertise to British and EU/EEA workers for jobs over £40,000 a year.

Currently, employers need to undertake a Resident Labour Market Test, which requires them to advertise the job within the EU and the European Economic Area for a set period of weeks before offering the position to third-country nationals. Once an employer satisfies this requirement, a foreign skilled migrant worker can be granted a work permit.

Employers can currently have the Resident Labour Market test waived for highly paid foreign workers with a salary above £50,000, but the worker must be employed at "board" level or equivalent.

The Telegraph stated that the salary threshold will be decided over the next three months, but the £40,000 salary level is the current working figure.

The proposal has been criticised by Conservatives in the UK government, saying the plans were at odds with Prime Minister Gordon Brown's recent rhetoric about "British jobs for British workers".

"This plan allows employers to bypass British workers," said James Clappison, the Tory MP who uncovered the plans. "The question the Government must answer is, how does this help British workers to get British jobs?"