Under the resident labour market test for Tier 2 of the Points Based System, employers are currently required to advertise jobs for two weeks, or one week where the salary is £40k or more, before employing foreign workers.
But under new rules proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee the period will be extended to four weeks for all jobs advertised, regardless of salary, from 14 December 2009.
Phil Woolas, Borders and Immigration Minister, said the change would better support UK workers looking for skilled jobs as the recession begins to subside.
“We've always said that we would run our immigration system for the benefit of the UK,” he said. “This change will give United Kingdom workers an even better chance and more time to apply for skilled vacancies that might otherwise go to migrant workers. It will ensure that businesses can recruit the skilled foreign workers that the economy needs, but not at the expense of British workers, nor as a cheaper alternative to investing in the skills of the existing workforce.”
Blow to Indian restaurants
However, the UK’s Indian restaurant industry, which has seen a shortage of skilled workers after tougher immigration policies were introduced last year, has hit back at the changes.
Enam Ali, chairman of the Guild of Bangladeshi Restaurateurs and owner of Le Raj in Epsom Downs, told BigHospitality the new law would only make recruiting staff tougher for Indian restaurants in the UK, as British workers don’t have the skills required to work in the sector.
“We need to put a cap on how many people come to this country, but there’s no point doing that in a market where the staff are clearly not available,” he said. “Right now there’s no one I can go to to find a couple of skilled Indian chefs just like that. There’s such a shortage of skilled workers in the UK that there’s almost no point in advertising; there are no chefs available.
“The government is not helping us to find workers. It’s very sad and something has to be done.”
Under Tier 2 of the Points Based System, chefs are included in a list of occupations considered to have a shortage of skilled workers in the UK, meaning employers who are licensed sponsors will be able to bring in migrant workers from outside Europe to fill vacancies.