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February 09, 2005

Immigrants to UK Must Speak English

The British government is to make English ability a prerequisite for skilled workers looking to settle in the UK. All foreigners applying for visas are to be fingerprinted to prevent overstayers. "This country needs migration. Tourists, students and migrant workers make a vital contribution to the U.K. economy. But we need to ensure that we let in migrants with the skills and talents to benefit Britain, while stopping those trying to abuse our hospitality and place a burden on our society," Home Secretary Charles Clarke said on Monday. There are also plans to introduce a points system, similar to that in place in Australia, that gives preference to professionals such as doctors and engineers. Workers who wish to stay permanently in the UK must have lived there for five years and must be able to write and speak in English. The moves are part of an EU-wide campaign to stamp out illegal immigration.

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