Sunday, September 14, 2008

No doctors please, we're British

No doctors please, we're British
Mon, Sep 15, 2008
The New Paper

YOUR medical degree will not be good enough to get you a job in Britain.

But being handy with a pair of shears and experience with sheep will.

Doctors, secondary school teachers and social workers from outside Europe will no longer be recruited to work in Britain under the points-based immigration system which is to come into force in November, reported the Guardian.

The three are the largest occupations represented among 300,000 skilled jobs currently open to non-European Union migrants that will be excluded under the new system.

This reduces the number of skilled jobs in Britain open to non-EU migrants from 1 million to 700,000.

It is thought the changes will cut the level of skilled migration to Britain from outside Europe by between 30,000 and 70,000 people a year.

The list was drawn up by the Migration Advisory Committee for the government to consider before the publication of a final list.

Employers wanting to hire staff in unlisted occupations will have to show they cannot recruit similar staff locally.

All workers coming to Britain will also have to demonstrate they can speak English and have enough money - set at £800 (about $2,000) to support themselves before their first pay cheque, said Reuters.

The decision to exclude doctors and most nurses brings to an end more than 50 years in which the Britain's National Health Service has relied on the recruitment of overseas staff to keep hospitals and surgeries going.

The committee said this reflected the sharp increase in training programmes for nurses and doctors in Britain.

Demand for specialists

It also said there was no general shortage of nurses in Britain, although there remains a demand for specialists such as operating theatre nurses.

But Britain, it said, needs more maths teachers, hovercraft officers and ballet dancers, according to a draft list of occupations with a shortage of workers published by a government advisory body on Tuesday.

The full list includes chefs, sheep shearers and jockeys, although all must be 'skilled', as well as specialist civil engineers, medical consultants and veterinary surgeons.

The committee explained some of its odder selections.

Ballet was on the list because the Royal Ballet said very few British applicants had the required level of artistic excellence or aesthestics.

Sheep shearers were on the list because this will enable a group of 500 Australian and New Zealand shearers who travel the world working on up to 400 sheep a day to continue to operate in Britain, where they shear 20 per cent of Britain's flock.

And manual frozen fish slicers are listed as a skilled shortage occupation in a list for Scotland because they have to work at minus 20°C.

Home Office Minister Tony McNulty said the committee had done a good job and told Sky News he expected the government would probably issue a 'remarkably similar' list in five or six weeks' time.

Bangladeshi caterers running popular 'Indian' restaurants in Britain welcomed the inclusion of skilled chefs on the shortage list, reported Reuters.

If you can cook...

'We are celebrating,' said Mr Nur-Ur Rahman Khondaker, secretary general of the Bangladesh Caterers Association, which had lobbied for ethnic catering jobs to be classified as a shortage occupation.

His organisation says Bangladeshi restaurants and takeaways in Britain already have 30,000 vacancies and had feared ethnic restaurants being permanently barred from hiring staff from their home nations.

But care home owners are badly hit. Many would not be able to offer the level of salary required for overseas social workers to avoid the new immigration restrictions.

'It is so far above what the medium pay levels are within care homes for senior care workers, it is just not going to be achievable,' Ms Mandy Thorn, a board member of the National Care Association, told the BBC.

The government is to publish the final shortage occupation list next month but it is not expected to be much different before coming into effect in November.

Immigration minister Liam Byrne told the Guardian: 'This strict list means 30 per cent fewer jobs are available to migrants via the shortage occupation route.

'Those that do come will need to work hard, play by the rules and speak English.'


  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Social workers
  • Teachers (except those who teach maths)


  • Ballet dancers
  • Sheep shearers
  • Fish slicers (Scotland only)
  • Civil and chemical engineers
  • Ship officers
  • Jockeys

This article was first published in The New Paper on Sept 13, 2008.

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