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Coalition commits to impose migration limit

The number of workers entering the UK from outside Europe will be controlled by a new limit, the Home Secretary has announced.

Details of how the final limit will be delivered will be agreed following a 12-week government consultation with businesses. In the meantime, an interim limit will be introduced to ensure that there is no 'closing down sale' and the number of work visas issued stays below 2009 levels.

The results of the consultation on the permanent limit will pave the way for the government's fundamental changes on the way in which workers from outside the European Union (EU) will be chosen to come and work in the UK.

The Home Secretary has also asked the Migration Advisory Committee, the government's independent adviser on migration issues, to launch a separate consultation into what level the limit should be set at, taking into account social and economic impacts.

The government's consultation will run until the end of September. Permanent limits on non EU economic migration routes will then be decided and put in place by 1 April 2011.

To avoid large numbers of applications between now and April next year, the government will impose an interim limit which will take effect from 19 July 2010. The interim limits will ensure the number of visas issued under Tiers 1 and 2 of the points-based system are below that issued in 2009.

These interim measures include:

  • capping the number of Tier 1 migrants at current levels and raising the number of points needed by non-EU workers who come to do highly skilled jobs from 95 to 100; and
  • limiting the number of certificates of sponsorship that licensed employers can issue to those who wish to come to fill skilled job vacancies. This will reduce the number of people entering through Tier 2 by 1,300.