UK Prime Minister makes major speech on UK immigration

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The British Prime Minister the Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP today set out the United Kingdom Government's views on immigration in a speech in west London. The Government describes the UK immigration system as being tough but fair.

This is the first major speech on immigration by the British Prime Minister since February 2008. Mr Brown feels that it is important that, if possible, British rather than migrant workers help to fill skill gaps.

Key sections of Gordon Brown's speech:

  • Migrants should obey the law, be able to speak English and make a contribution to British society.

  • Removal of more occupations from the in-demand list. This will make it more difficult for employers to obtain Tier 2 visas. Employers will need to advertise to show that they cannot find workers from the resident labour market to fill the vacancies. Employers already have to do this much of the time.

  • It is claimed that current measures had reduced the number of positions available for migrant workers by 30,000 and that reducing the in-demand list further will result in fewer migrant workers being able to gain entry to the UK.

  • There will be a review of student visas to try and prevent students working illegally in the UK. It should be noted that in general students can, anyway, work part-time during term time and full time during their holidays.

Gordon Brown said:

'Immigration is not an issue for fringe parties nor a taboo subject - it is a question at the heart of our politics, a question about what it means to be British; about the values we hold dear and the responsibilities we expect of those coming into our country; about how we secure the skills we need to compete in the global economy; about how we preserve and strengthen our communities.'

It has been shown that immigration is good for the UK economy. Skilled workers are still needed in a number of occupations to deal with skills shortages. It should be noted that there is competition around the World for skilled workers. Any immigration system must make it possible for employers to attract the best available talent from around the World.