With the debate surrounding the UK’s visa and immigration changes continuing, what is happening in other EU countries? Germany is planning to ease immigration rules, France is tightening them and the UK claims to be doing both.
UK Home Secretary Theresa May has said that the new changes, to come into force on April 6th, will act as a barrier for unskilled workers who intend to use the system as a means of permanent settlement in the UK. French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared earlier this month that there are too many immigrants in France and the president of Germany’s Chamber of Commerce and Trade (DIHK), Heinrich Driftmann, says his country’s recent plans will merely create instant residence permits.
The UK’s most major change is the raising of the income threshold to £35,000 per annum for Immigrant workers. Germany on the other hand is lowering its income threshold to approximately £37, 500 (Euros 44,800).
The income threshold therefore is still higher in Germany than in the UK, yet it still faces major opposition. Despite recent signs of slowing economic growth, Germany still has a shortage of skilled engineers and IT workers.
This shortage of skilled workers is mirrored in the UK, but UK Home Secretary Theresa May says that these changes are not designed to stop skilled foreign workers coming to the UK to work.
Instead she says the focus is on informing immoral employers what will and will not be tolerated when employing foreign domestic workers in kitchens and private households for example. The changes are likely to mean these types of workers will be prevented from changing employers or staying in the UK for a period of more than six months.
The debate is now hotting up with Audrey Guichon, a spokesperson for Anti-Slavery International, suggesting that the new rules and restrictions “would now reflect those of the ‘kafala’ system, which is widespread across the Middle East, where changing employer means giving up the rights of residency.”
It appears the European-wide debate on immigration and foreign workers is not going away quietly.
Watch this space…
For UK Work Study Ltd
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