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Immigration points system could cause crippling skills shortages in certain sectors

David Woods , 06 Mar 2009

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The new points-based immigration system could have a detrimental effect on employers attracting talent to the construction and performing arts sectors.

The new laws coming into effect from 1 April mean workers coming to the UK from outside the European Union must have a previous salary of £20,000 and a Masters degree, and employers must advertise all vacancies in Jobcentre Plus if they intend to bring in staff from outside Europe.

Earlier in the week the BBC reported circuses would struggle to recruit performers and the new laws can only worsen this.

William O'Neill, head of employment at Rowlands solicitors, told HR magazine: "In industries that rely on certain skills and expertise, of which there is currently a shortage in the UK, it could potentially cripple many businesses at a time when they are already struggling to survive. Employers will undoubtedly experience delays and difficulties in getting the staff they need.

"There is no way for businesses to avoid the new system, although if it does become apparent there is a shortage of skills, then this will be used to trigger skill reviews that focus on training resident workers for these occupations."

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