Britain has launched a sponsorship programme to help 100 refugees from Jordan and Lebanon to gain employment by a British employer.
The Displaced Talent Mobility pilot is set to run for up to two years and is part of the UK’s efforts to reduce the number of migrants entering the country illegally.
Designed in collaboration with the refugee charity Talent Beyond Boundaries, it aims to address the administrative and legal barriers that refugees and other displaced people face when seeking skilled employment internationally.
It will give applicants and their families the opportunity to move to Britain for work in fields including IT, construction and engineering with a shortage of suitably qualified staff.
The move was announced by Home Secretary Priti Patel as she unveiled the second reading of her immigration bill to Parliament.
She said those displaced by conflict and violence would now be allowed to apply for residency through the points-based immigration system.
“It will enable skilled displaced people who have had to flee their homes to come to the UK safely and legally through established routes,” she said.
“We will work with the charity Talent Beyond Boundaries and other partners on this pilot project.
“Up to 100 refugees in Jordan and Lebanon will be supported first to gain sponsorship from a UK employer.
“Providing greater support to refugees arriving safely will reduce the incentive to enter this country dangerously and illegally.”
Under the pilot, employers who hire through a competitive, remote recruitment process will be able to sponsor TBB candidates.
These applicants will receive priority processing and case management support to overcome administrative barriers to obtaining passports, travel documents, employment references and tax records.
Candidates will have access to safeguards in the event they lose their jobs to ensure they are not returned to a country where they may face danger. They will also be entitled to a five-year Skilled Worker Visa, then Indefinite Leave to Remain.
“We are strengthening the safe and legal ways in which people can enter the UK, adopting a fair but firm approach,” Ms Patel said.
“From today, I am granting indefinite leave to remain to refugees resettled under our world-leading resettlement schemes.
“Giving them the vital freedom to succeed from the moment they arrive in our country.
“And, importantly, offering certainty and stability to help them rebuild their lives from day one. Because that is the right thing to do.”
The Nationality and Borders Bill proposes longer sentences for traffickers and the deportation of migrants arriving illegally by boat.
New laws will make it a criminal offence for asylum seekers to enter Britain without permission.
The changes will give police the power to lock up entrants who do not arrive through an airport, ferry terminal or train station after they are charged, instead of sending them to hotels or detention centres while their asylum claims are processed.
More than 8,000 migrants made the hazardous crossing of the English Channel last year, but the authorities hope that tough new immigration laws will deter others. More than 16,000 people entered the UK illegally last year.
On Monday, more than 430 migrants sailed across the English Channel, a single-day record.
It is believed many travelled from Belgium and France.