Home Secretary insists business will stick to the rules

Home Secretary Theresa May last night denied businesses would seek to exploit a loophole in the government's new immigration rules that will allow firms to bring an unlimited number of employees to the UK for less than a year.

There will be a new minimum salary of 40,000 for firms using intra-company transfers (ICTs) to bring their own people into the UK for more than a year to do specific jobs, but employees staying for less than 12 months will be exempt.

Unite, the UK's largest union warned firms would seek to abuse the system, "manipulating tax and accommodation allowances to undercut UK resident workers". But Mrs May said: "I don't expect to see businesses gaming around these arrangements."

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The Home Secretary also announced that the number of migrant workers coming to Britain from outside the EU would be cut by a fifth and capped at 21,700 from next year.