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Kiwis Could Benifit From British Immigration Drive

More Kiwi's may soon be allowed to immigrate to Britain under proposed changes to immigration laws designed to address chronic shortages of skilled labour. John Howard reports.

British Home Office Minister, Barbara Roche, is expected this week to raise the prospect that immigration laws be changed under a pilot scheme to allow more skilled workers to settle permanently in the UK.

The announcement will be the first relaxation in immigration laws in more than 30 years and is being proposed amid concerns that medical and education services may soon have insufficient staff to keep running.

There are also fears that shortages of trained professionals in IT, new media, banking, accounting and management are so severe that Britain will soon lag behind the US and Europe.

Although reports that more than 100,000 professionals will be allowed to immigrate each year are unconfirmed, the British government is said to be considering a points system to encourage immigration in industries where shortages are most severe.

Skilled Kiwi's would be ideally placed to take advantage of the changes with thousands of jobs currently going begging - even as an officer in the British Army.

Already international recruitment drives are under way in health and education.

Last year, the number of foreign nurses and midwives registering to work in Britain rose 48 per cent to a record 7,361. There was also an influx of foreign doctors, social workers and teachers.

Public service chiefs fear that without more foreign workers services in London in particular will grind to a halt.

In the teacher category London schools have a shortfall of 1,020 teachers and a record 1,890 across the rest of the country.

British recruitment agencies say labour shortages in health and education are just the tip of the iceberg.

Agencies are spending record amounts on advertising overseas to find prospective employees in many industries.

Startdate.com an internet job search site representing 4,500 British recruitment agencies, says anybody with a work permit even with limited experience in web design or IT, could be out of work for no longer than a week.

Salaries are "highly negotiable" especially for Kiwi's and Australians who have very good reputations as workers said Philip Rawlinson, managing director of startdate.com

On a personal note my British contact informs me that even experienced older workers in the 60 age group don't seem to have trouble getting a good job - provided they are prepared to, or have, upskilled.

Could we likely to see a mass exodus of Greypower members with British-born parents from New Zealand?

God, at last I feel empowered.

More information on UK jobs and work permit requirments is available at www.startdate.com


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