LONDON, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- England plans to cut in half the number of highly skilled workers it lets into the country from outside the European Union, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said.
Smith said the cuts would come from a tightening of entry requirements, The Times of London reported Sunday. British officials also plan to make it easier to deport European Union nationals convicted of sexual, violent and drugs crimes.
Speaking on the BBC, Smith said beginning in April highly skilled migrants will need a master's degree rather than a bachelor's degree. She said workers would also have to earn at least $28,583, up from the current $24,295 requirement.
"Migration is important for this country but at a time when we have more people actually looking for work within (Britain), it is also economically right that we are more selective about those who come into the country," Smith said. "I think, given the current economic situation, it is right for us now to look at that points-based system and to make sure that it is responding to the current economic circumstances."