Brown Vows to Tighten Immigration Rules Ahead of Elections

In his first speech in 18 months on immigration, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has vowed to ‘tighten’ rules for immigration to further restrict the number of professionals coming into the UK.

The move could adversely impact non-EU migrants, including those from India.

In his speech, Brown called for deleting of occupations like engineers, hospital consultants, skilled chefs and care workers from the current occupation list.

“So we favour, a tough but fair approach, rooted in a points system, under which we decide what catergory of skills are to be allowed into this country. This combines the flexibility and control that is right, with a continued commitment to strong borders and a rigorous enforcement of the laws against illegal immigration,” said Gordon Brown

In addition, the premier announced a review of the student visa system that is likely to toughen rules for foreign students. This might include restricting visas for short courses and limiting part-time work rules for incoming students. Around 31,000 Indian students are currently studying in the UK.

Announced earlier, new immigration rules also include extending the point based system to citizenship.

Experts say that while overhauling the immigration system is justified, given the economic downturn and high local unemployment, they warn that the new rules may be more unfair towards non-EU migrants, while it’s the influx of migrants from within the European Union that needs to be controlled. With election just months away, the debate on immigration is just heating up.

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