New British rules favour non-EU workers for high-end jobs

London, Jan 2 (IANS) British employers may no longer have to advertise highly paid jobs locally before hiring overseas as new rules from July open up opportunities for Indian and other non-European white-collar workers.

From July, employers will no longer have to advertise British jobs offering salaries of over £40,000 a year in Britain before they make the posts available to workers outside the European Union, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported Wednesday.

Support TwoCircles

The proposed removal of the so-called Resident Labour Market Test for high-end jobs has prompted fears that it could trigger an influx of white-collar immigrants coming to work in Britain, undercutting British graduates, the paper said.

The salary threshold is likely to be decided over the next three months, but a working figure is said to be £40,000 (about Rs.3.1 million) a year.

The opposition Conservative Party said the changes to the rules were at odds with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s slogan of “British jobs for British workers”.

“This plan allows employers to bypass British workers. The question the government must answer is, how does this help British workers to get British jobs?” said James Clappison, the Conservative MP who uncovered the plans.

The report comes after Indian doctors won a court ruling in their favour in late 2007, saying British hospitals would no longer have to look for European Union (EU) citizens for employment before hiring Indians.

Indian doctors working in Britain had challenged the practice as discriminatory.

Under the Resident Labour Market Test, companies currently have to advertise all of their jobs within the EU for a set period of weeks before offering them to people from outside the region.

But the government plans to introduce new rules in July as a result of a shake-up of its immigration policy, which would mean the requirement would not apply to well-paid jobs, the Daily Telegraph said.

According to a Whitehall paper, officials want to limit the scope of the test to lower-paid jobs “since it is here that there is most public concern about the impact of migrant labour on the domestic labour market”.

The newspaper said the new rules could encourage British companies to ditch their training schemes and hire cheap, highly-qualified IT technicians, lawyers or accountants from developing countries at the expense of British workers.