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Since 1st March, 1999
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Indian doctors, IT pros face UK job bar
- Home office panel recommends meeting worker shortage with citizens from EU countries

London, Sept. 9: Indian doctors will no longer be able to work in the UK as salaried general practitioners if proposals announced today by a home office advisory committee are accepted by the government.

Indian IT workers will be barred, too, under recommendations made by the home office’s migration advisory committee.

What this means is that workers from the European Union will be free to apply for any job in the UK even if they are poorly qualified or have limited experience, while Indians will be banned from doing so even if they have superior qualifications.

The committee was set up to frame rules so only the skilled workers Britain needed were allowed in. Indian consultants will be admitted in some cases but the days when doctors from Calcutta or Mumbai could seek a career in the National Health Service (NHS) could now come to an end.

Terrorism perpetrated mainly by British-born Pakistani youths has provoked an anti-immigrant mood towards non-whites in Britain. Although Britain depends on foreign workers, especially where menial work needs to be done, the government has decided that its requirements can be met by white migrants from the newer and poorer EU states whose nationals enjoy free movement across borders in any case.

With Gordon Brown widely expected to lead Labour to defeat in the next general election, the government believes that being seen to act tough on immigration may yet save the day. The Tories, too, want curbs on non-EU immigration, forcing Brown to announce measures that are, at least, as severe.

The home office committee has drawn up a list of jobs from which non-EU workers will be barred.

Foreign teachers will not be allowed, except for science and mathematics, subjects in which there is a shortage both of teachers and pupils.

The committee also recommended a bar on social workers, skilled construction workers, IT specialists and architects. This means a skilled Sikh carpenter won’t be allowed in but a Pole, even if a cowboy, could walk in.

David Metcalf, the chairman of the committee, reflected the government’s hard new stance on immigration when he declared: “Don’t think we are a soft touch. There are rather more jobs which we have excluded from the list than we have included.”

Metcalf said other categories — such as textile trades and qualified veterinary nurses — had been excluded from the shortage list because experts believed the vacancies could be filled by training existing workers in the UK.

Employers who brought in workers by falsely boosting their qualifications would be punished, Metcalf warned.

“There have been some employers, particularly on the cusp of skilled and less skilled, such as the care sector and chefs, who have tried to bring in less skilled people ostensibly saying that they are skilled.

“We say in the report that it is vital that the home office monitoring personnel deal with this vigorously. If there are such attempts under the new sponsorship structure, we would expect an employer to be warned or struck off, and they would not then be able to bring in anybody at all,” he added.

The proposals are likely to be accepted by immigration minister Liam Byrne under the new points-based immigration system.

Byrne said: “We will be pressure-testing their conclusions before publishing our final list in October. Our tough new points system, plus our plans for newcomers to earn their citizenship, will reduce overall numbers of economic migrants coming to Britain and the numbers awarded permanent settlement.”

“Crucially, the points system means only the migrants with the skills Britain needs can come, and no more,” he added.

The problem for Britain is that it has an ageing population. The country needs young migrant workers. The government appears to have decided that in many categories, it would rather have white but poorly qualified workers from the EU in preference to more skilled non-whites from outside the EU.

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