U.K. tightens rules on skilled immigrants

Investigators examine the area where a burning car slammed into a terminal at the Glasgow, Scotland, airport.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: For most of today's show we'll be talking about financial independence. But first the the news of the day.

Today British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Britain will step up security checks on highly skilled immigrant workers. The decision comes days after bomb scares in London and Glasgow in which the suspects are doctors from the Middle East and India.

But what effect will this greater scrutiny have on a British economy dependent on foreigners? Here's Marketplace's Dan Grech.


Dan Grech: Britain's already a magnet for skilled immigrants, including an estimated 90,000 foreign doctors. That leaves critics saying Prime Minister Brown's crackdown may come too late.

Ashley Seager: That would seem a little bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted.

Ashley Seager covers economics for The Guardian, a British newspaper. He says Britain's borders are wide open to workers from the European Union, Australia and former British colonies. But after two terror attacks in three years, the attitude towards immigrants has shifted.

Seager: Britain has always prided itself on being an open country with liberal values. But those liberal values are gonna be surely tested in the coming years.

Rhian Beynon is with the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants. She says tighter borders carry an economic impact.

Rhian Beynon: We're very reliant, or increasingly reliant, on labor from countries like Poland. But we have to recognize that if people think that the system is sufficiently difficult, then they may very well be deterred from entering the U.K.

She says skilled foreigners could simply go to countries with more relaxed borders.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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