Only 25 per cent of 'highly skilled' immigrants are actually in a top job in the UK, with many of the remaining taking low-skilled jobs like call centre work, a report suggests.
Indian, Pakistani and Nigerian migrants account for around three quarters of those granted Tier 1 visas -- with Indians making up more than one third and Pakistani nationals more than one in ten.
The figures prompted a signal from ministers that the entry route will be slashed when numbers are capped, the Daily Mail reported.
Officials analysed a sample of 1,184 forms completed by postgraduate and highly skilled migrants who wanted to bring in dependants, in which they must declare their work status and employer.
The results showed that only one in four was in a skilled job, while 29 per cent were in unskilled roles that did not earn them the 25,000 pounds they would need to extend their visa. Some 46 per cent of cases were classified as 'unclear' because the applicants failed to give job details.
Immigration minister Damian Green said that the study would play a 'key role' in determining the level of the cap. 'While it is important that low-skilled jobs are filled, there are hundreds of thousands of British people who could be doing them instead of a migrant,' he said.
'Those coming under the highly skilled migrant route should only be able to do highly skilled jobs -- it should not be used as a means to enter the low-skilled jobs market," he added.
Green noted that the report questioned the 'value of this route into the UK', and that 'the findings will play a key part in discussions on how the annual limit will be shaped.'
The Coalition has pledged to limit the number of workers from outside the EU allowed in to Britain, and David Cameron has said that the net migration will be cut from 196,000 last year to the 'tens of thousands'. The cap is set to be determined by Christmas.
Last year a total of 18,780 migrants were handed so-called Tier 1 visas, which are aimed at highly skilled workers from outside the EU and also allows in super rich investors and proven entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in the UK.
But on coming to the UK, those who are unable to find highly skilled jobs cannot be removed, and can even apply to bring in their dependents.