Changes to UK employment law which introduced a tough Australian-style points system for foreign workers have been hailed an early success.

The Home Office revealed that 4,875 firms have so far registered as sponsors with the scheme, which aims to ensure only skilled migrant workers who meet the country’s specific needs are allowed to enter.

Phil Woolas, border and immigration minister, described the new method as “one of the most radical changes” that has been made to the immigration system.

Mr Woolas commented: “It is crucial that only those foreign workers we need come here and this new system will ensure that.”

The minister also claimed that there has been a 12 per cent reduction in the number of workers entering the country who do not have the skills the UK needs.

Last month, the Home Office revealed that foreign nationals are able to apply for identity cards which will allow them to prove their right to work in Britain under the new points-based immigration system.