In April 2009, the British government announced a change for the labour market access of foreign workers.



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UK Border Agency "Tier 1 (General) of the Points Based System - Policy Guidance" - the website of UK Border Agency:

UK Border Agency. "The resident labour market test". Available at

UK Premier Minister's Office. (31 March 2010). Speech on controlling immigration for a fairer Britain. Available at

Inception date: 01 Apr 2009 | Removal date: open ended

Labour market access

From 1 April 2009 the UK government has made more stringent the conditions necessary to gain access to the UK labour market through the Points Based System (PBS). The UK government stated that this step would give domestic workers a greater chance of qualifyingfor jobs in the UK. The changes refer to migrants to the UK from outside the European Economic Area. Three of the most important changes are listed below.

  1. For so-called tier 2 skilled jobs, employers must advertise jobs to resident workers through JobCentre Plus before they can bring in a worker from outside Europe; 
  2. Stricter use of so-called shortage occupation lists that allow for the hiring of foreign workers. and
  3. Raising the qualifications and salary required for tier 1 (General) of the PBS to a Master's degree (from Bachelor's Degree ) and a minimum salary of Ł20,000 (from Ł16,000).

From 14 December 2009, the UK Border Agency required British employers to advertise jobs locally for a minimum of 28 days before they seek candidates from abroad. Only if it has not received a suitable application from a settled person with non-immigrant status, the company may seek employment of a skilled migrant (Tier 2) from overseas. The company may not accept applications of migrants submitted within the first 28 days of advertising. Previously, the restricted access had been granted for 14 days.
More specifically, the regulation reads:
"All vacancies advertised on or after 14 December 2009 must be advertised to settled workers for 28 calendar days. You can choose to do this in one of two ways:

  • advertise the vacancy for a single continuous period, with a minimum closing date of 28 calendar days from the date the advertisement first appeared; or
  • advertise the vacancy in two stages, where each stage lasts no less than 7 calendar days and both stages added together total a minimum of 28 calendar days. For example, you can initially advertise the vacancy for 14 calendar days. If a suitable settled worker is identified, you can appoint them straight away. However, if no suitable settled worker is identified, you cannot appoint a migrant worker who applies at this stage - you must advertise the vacancy for a further 14 days, making 28 calendar days in total. If no suitable settled workers are identified during either the first or second stage, the resident labour market test has been completed and you can appoint a Tier 2 migrant."

Furthermore, in a speech on 31 March 2010, Premier Minister Gordon Brown announced tighter controls on student visas (Tier 4 of the labor market). The adaptations include more stringent rules on college entry for non-EU citizens plus reduced work permits for lower level students. Mr Brown expects these changes to reduce the number of foreign students by 40 thousand in the academic year 2010/11.