Page last updated at 00:12 GMT, Wednesday, 21 October 2009 01:12 UK

Downturn cuts foreign worker jobs

Development of flats in London
There is less need for construction managers now

The recession has significantly cut the number of UK jobs being offered to workers from outside the EU, says a panel which advises the government.

There are 500,000 jobs in sectors on the "skills shortage list", compared with 700,000 a year ago, the Migration Advisory Committee said.

It recommends some jobs in construction and engineering be removed from the list amid the recession.

Ministers use its recommendations to inform immigration policy.

The UK has introduced a points-based immigration system under which employers can recruit "skilled" workers from non-EU countries only if they cannot fill a vacancy or the post is on the list of shortage occupations.

Jobs on the list must be advertised to UK nationals for two weeks before being offered overseas, although this is due to be extended to a month later this year.

The committee said its latest analysis took account of the worldwide recession on the UK and on particular sectors hit hardest by the contraction in the economy.

But it drew attention to a number of new skills gaps, including for teachers in specialist schools.

Immigration minister Phil Woolas said the points system ensured businesses could recruit the skilled foreign workers they need, while programmes were in place to train British workers to fill jobs in the future.

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