Monday, February 21, 2011

UK to let in 20,000 skilled Indians yearly, bypassing government's new immigration caps

Britain would reportedly allow thousands of Indians to enter the country every year under a European Union (EU) trade deal.

The multibillion-pound EU India Free Trade Agreement, which was initiated by former Trade Commissioner Lord Mandelson in 2007, and is expected to be signed by the end of June, will allow Indian workers, mostly skilled IT professionals, to bypass the Government's new immigration caps, the Daily Express reports. he paper also said that Britain is preparing to accept 20,000 skilled Indian workers every year, 40 per cent of the proposed quota for all 27 countries in the EU.

The proposed deal is a contrast to last year's announcement made by Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain would put an annual restriction on at least 20,700 skilled non-EU workers.

The workers would reportedly enter via controversial "intra-company transfer visas" that allow foreign companies to send cheap homegrown labours to Britain for a maximum of five years.

Business Secretary Vince Cable had won a cabinet battle last November to ensure the visas were exempt from the Government's new points-based immigration cap, the paper said.

Meanwhile, the free trade deal has been criticized by many analysts in Britain who think that it would "punch a huge hole in our immigration controls".

Sir Andrew Green of campaign group Migration Watch said: "The negotiations over a trade agreement between the EU and India are threatening to punch a huge hole in our immigration controls. What is the point of the British government limiting economic migration to 20,000 a year and then letting in another 20,000 Indians?"

"Cable's Business Department seem to be blind to the impact on British workers. With unemployment now close to two and a half million it is shameful that these negotiations should be so shrouded in secrecy," he added.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has urged Cable to urgently clarify the impact on British jobs, adding: "We have long held concerns about intra-company transfers as employers do not have to make a business case for importing oversees staff or look to recruit in the UK first."bout 30,000 intra-company transfer visas have reportedly been issued to Indian nationals in the past two years. (ANI)


Boat children key part of racket, says former Australian immigration minister

Former immigration minister Philip Ruddock says children are being used to pave the way for entire families of refugees

FORMER immigration minister Philip Ruddock says children are being used to pave the way for entire families of refugees following a near-doubling of unaccompanied minors in detention.

As the Immigration Department prepares this week to fly nine-year-old Seena Akhlaqi Sheikhdost, whose parents died in the Christmas Island shipwreck, back to Sydney, figures show the number of unaccompanied minors in detention has increased by more than 40 per cent since November, The Australian reports.

Mr Ruddock said yesterday a "significant portion" of those unaccompanied minors had been sent with a view to paving the way for other family members, although he conceded that some might be seeking to avoid forced conscription or other forms of persecution.

"By the time you've got an unaccompanied minor and they've got a claim up, they would argue that under the Convention of the Rights of the Child they've got a right to bring over their parents," Mr Ruddock told The Australian.

"I would suspect that in the majority of cases, they would not be intent on living here alone without their families once they have succeeded . . . I suspect a significant proportion would have been sent for that purpose."

According to the department, the number of unaccompanied minors jumped from 266 at the beginning of November to 453 as of last Friday -- a 41 per cent increase. Unaccompanied minors account for slightly less than half the 1036 minors presently in detention.

Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre dismissed the theory that families were sending their children ahead as a way of ensuring their own lawful passage through family reunion schemes. "I speak to asylum-seekers in detention and their stories don't bear that out,' she said.


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