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Written Parliamentary Questions: 19th December 2006

Highly-skilled Migrant Programme
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the likely impact of changes to the highly skilled migrant programme on economic migration within the UK; and if he will make a statement. (John Hemming)

A:Migrants currently in the UK under the highly skilled migrant programme (HSMP) can apply to extend their leave. The rules for the highly skilled migrant programme extension applications have recently been amended to ensure that applicants already in the UK under the programme have been making, and can continue to make, a contribution to the UK economy. The changes were based on a thorough analysis of the HSMP criteria.

Individuals applying to extend their leave to remain in the UK under the HSMP must now achieve a minimum of 75 points against robust points scoring criteria (qualifications, previous earnings, age and UK experience) and must also meet a mandatory English language requirement. The points scoring structure is flexible and is based on criteria that will indicate success in the labour market. If an applicant claims fewer points in one area, they can make up for it by claiming more points in another. (Liam Byrne, Minister of State, Home Office)

Highly-skilled Migrant Programme
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people in the UK who qualify under the highly skilled migrant programme live or work in (a) London, (b) the South West and (c) elsewhere in the UK. (John Hemming)

A:The highly skilled migrant programme (HSMP) is designed to give highly skilled individuals the opportunity to come to the UK to seek work without having a prior offer of employment. Data is not collected about where those individuals eventually choose to live or work. (Liam Byrne, Minister of State, Home Office)

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