The U.K. to dish out visas to highly skilled African migrants

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Following the tightening of British border security arrangements, the UK government Monday announced the introduction of a new system for assessing highly-skilled migrants who want to work in Britain.

The points-based system will come into effect 30 June 2008 and would be far easier for applicants to use. According to the announcement, the points system means that only those migrants who offer skills that Britain needs can go to the UK.

The Tier 1 system builds upon the success of the ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Programme’ and aims to attract applicants who have the very highest skills, as well as those who want to establish themselves in business or to invest in the UK.

Further tiers relating to students, workers with a job offer and temporary workers will be rolled out over the next 12 months.

The embassy explained that applicants would earn “points” for their qualifications, previous earnings, competence in English language and ability to support themselves and their dependents.

“Applicants can calculate their points before they apply, so they know whether they are likely to qualify as highly skilled, ” the embassy said, adding that the system was more straightforward. Successful applicants will be granted visa for three years as opposed to two.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Border and Immigration Minister Liam Byrne said: “The UK is a fantastic place to work and develop for those with the skills we need.

“A points system has worked well in Australia and I think it will work well for Britain. This is a key part of the huge change to our border security this year. ”

The introduction of the system follows a tightening of British border security arrangements whereby all visa applicants now have to submit their fingerprints for checking against government databases before visas are approved.

Also, severe penalties have been introduced for people who employ illegal workers in the UK and a new unified Border force has been established.

In addition, since 1 April, applicants who use false documents or deception when making a visa application face a ban from the UK of up to 10 years. Panapress .

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