The Home Office Command Paper, "A Points-Based System: Making Migration Work for Britain", was published today.
The Command Paper announces the Government’s intention to terminate the Sectors Based Scheme for the food processing sector at the end of December 2006. This decision reflects the Government’s policy, set out its Five Year Strategy on Asylum and Immigration, that existing quota-based low skilled migration schemes would be phased out over time in the light of the availability of labour from an enlarged EU. The decision was taken in the light of, in particular, the numbers of nationals of the new Member States that have registered under the Worker Registration Scheme for employment in the food processing sector since 1 May 2004 (16,995 between 1 May 2004 and 31 December 2005).
The current SBS quota expires at the end of June 2006. The quota for the July to December period has yet to be determined but will be announced in due course.
The Command Paper makes clear that the Government will retain the flexibility to set up future quota-based low-skilled schemes to meet temporary labour shortages.
The planned Skills Advisory Body will be the mechanism for identifying those labour shortages to which such schemes may be an appropriate response.