A FIFTH of Oxford key workers are non-British residents.

The GMB union has warned that the Government’s points-based immigration system, which is due to be introduced in January, could leave the UK desperately short of key workers.

According to researchers at Oxford University, many key workers will not qualify for a work visa.

Office for National Statistics figures reveal that out of 24,800 key workers estimated to be in employment in Oxford in 2017-19, 5300 (21per cent) of them were people who do not have British nationality.

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The figures do not include those born outside the UK who later became British citizens.

Key workers are employed in sectors deemed essential by the Government, such as health and social care, education, food production, transport and other public services.

Of the 19900 non-British workers estimated to be in employment in Oxford, 27per cent were in key roles.

The Home Office says the planned post-Brexit immigration is a fairer scheme to attract people with the skills needed in the country.

But GMB has warned that many migrant workers have already left the UK.

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Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: "Health and social care, for example, rely heavily on workers from abroad. We have huge numbers of vacancies and the current workforce is already under incredible pressure.

"Meanwhile, the immigration bill doesn't even reference key workers and has capped salaries of workers to such an extent the care workers we desperately need won't earn enough to meet the threshold.

"Unless it undergoes radical reform, the immigration bill in its current guise will leave the UK desperately short of key workers."

Out of 86,300 total people working in the area, 29per cent are key workers.

Across the UK about 10per cent of the 10.5 million key workers are non-British.