UK

Migrant teachers and nurses face overseas crime checks

Immigration control at Heathrow Image copyright PA

Teachers, nurses and social workers from outside the European Union are set to face criminal record checks before being allowed to work in the UK.

From April, migrants from outside the EU will need to provide a certificate with visa applications disclosing whether they have criminal convictions.

Most employers already require people to self-disclose they have no criminal record and they carry out UK checks.

But the Home Office says the move is designed to "strengthen safeguards".

The change, which is subject to parliamentary approval, will apply to applicants from non-European Economic Area countries for a Tier 2 visa to take up jobs which involve working with children and vulnerable adults.

They will now be required to provide a criminal record checks certificate from any countries they have lived in for more than 12 months in the past 10 years.

An applicant's partner, or a partner wishing to join an existing skilled migrant worker in the same sectors, will also be asked to produce a certificate.

The requirement could be waived where it is deemed not "reasonably practicable" to obtain a certificate, such as if a country or authority does not produce such documents.

'Shortage occupations'

Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said: "Foreign criminals have absolutely no right to be working with society's most vulnerable.

"While we already reserve the right to refuse a visa to anyone who is convicted of a criminal offence, the introduction of overseas criminal record checks for those looking to work with children and vulnerable adults add an extra safeguard."

The government can automatically refuse entry to applicants who have been jailed for four years or more, while those given shorter terms can be barred for up to 10 years after their sentence ends.

Several other new immigration rule measures are due to come in force following a review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

Chemistry teachers are being removed from a list of UK "shortage occupations", but those who teach combined science, computer science and Mandarin are being added to the list, meaning they can be recruited from outside the EEA more easily.

The minimum salary threshold before a Tier 2 visa is granted to experienced skilled workers will rise to £30,000 for most jobs.

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