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Increased border controls for migrants

Increased border controls for migrants

People who want to come to the UK to work will be subject to a new 'points system', Home Secretary Charles Clarke has announced.

Unveiling the Government's five-year plan for immigration and asylum in the Commons, he said that the current system needed to be built on to ensure a 'robust service.'

Speaking in a television interview, Tony Blair said that the key thing is to get "an immigration policy that is in the interests of Britain".

He said there have been "huge improvements" since 1999.

"We are removing far more people. But this is an issue you have got to keep coming back to, because people are always looking for new ways of abusing the system.

"This is an issue not just for Britain, but for every country in the world. But what we need here are asylum and immigration controls in the interests of Britain.

"It means controls that weed out the abuses, make sure that it is only people who we really need to come to Britain that come here, but do so in a way that doesn't actually damage our economy."

Other key measures announced today include an end to chain migration - meaning there will be no immediate or automatic right for newly-arrived people to bring in more relatives.

Only skilled workers will be allowed to settle long-term in the UK and there will be English language tests for everyone who wants to stay permanently.

Fast-track processing of all 'unfounded' asylum seekers will be introduced, with electronic tagging where necessary.

And fingerprinting of all visa applicants will be established at UK borders, with electronic checks on all those entering and leaving the country.

Mr Clarke said:

"This country needs migration - tourists, students and migrant workers make a vital contribution to the UK economy.

"But we need to ensure that we let those with the skills and talents to benefit Britain, while stopping those trying to abuse our hospitality and place a burden on our society.

"We will introduce a simpler, clearer, more effective scheme for those wishing to come and work here, focusing on the highly skilled migrants that can help us build our economy."

The points system to determine what labour skills are needed will consist of four tiers: highly skilled, skilled, low skilled and student/specialist (such as football players).

Points will be adjusted to respond to changes in job market giving the system flexibility and control, added Mr Clarke.


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