Wednesday, February 16, 2011

High-flyers to escape British migration cap

(For non-British readers: "The City" is London's financial district)

High-flyers earning more than £150,000 a year will be exempt from the yearly cap on economic migration, ministers will announce on Wednesday. The move comes in response to fears that the limit would hinder the City’s ability to hire global talent.

The concession will be welcomed by business leaders, who have warned the government that the limit on work permits for non-Europeans threatens to damage important trading partnerships and London’s standing as an international commercial hub.

Lady Valentine, chief executive of London First, a City lobby group that has led opposition to the cap, said: “It is refreshing to see that government is listening to business concerns. Many of London’s biggest global employers will be delighted with the restrictions on high earners being lifted.”

Yearly net migration rose recently to 215,000, although much of that could be attributed to Britons no longer emigrating to Spain.

There is also evidence that immigration from Ireland is rising, as well as from other EU countries such as Latvia and Lithuania, also outside the government’s control.

The points-based system will be ranked to favour jobs where there are skills shortages, scientific researchers and high earners.


A much ignored petition in Australia

Political correctness trumps the voice of the people

The controversial petition calling for a ban on Muslim immigration has been tabled 48 times in Parliament, The Canberra Times can reveal.

ACT Liberal senator Gary Humphries angered the Muslim community when he tabled a petition on behalf of three Sydney residents last week, calling for a 10-year moratorium on Muslim migration to Australia. Several other senators had declined to do so.

However, an analysis of the history of the petition which appears to originate with the Christian Democrat Party reveals it is not the first time Senator Humphries has tabled it. Another 35 politicians 19 Liberals, six Nationals, eight Labor MPs and senators and two Independents have also tabled it since 2007, several more than once.

The petition calls for Christians to be given priority in immigration and for a 10-year ban on Muslims coming to Australia "so an assessment can be made on the social and political disharmony currently occurring in the Netherlands, France and the UK".

Senator Humphries said yesterday he would have tabled it the first time for the same reasons as last week. Although he disagreed with its sentiments, he had a responsibility to allow people's views to be presented to Parliament.

He was "not anxious to become the patron saint of ... extreme points of view" and sorry the publicity had given some people the chance to express bigoted or racist views, but stood by his decision to table it.

"I would do so, and in fact I will do so, again, because this situation is bound to recur in some form or another; not necessarily this issue, but something else that people consider to be controversial," he said.


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