Hairdressers, real estate agents and shopkeepers are among the occupations that would be banned from seeking employment in the UK under new immigration rules.

In a second tranche of recommendations to the Home Office from the Migrations Advisory Committee, skilled worker, or Tier 2 Category visas on the Points-Based System, would only be granted to foreigners who apply for graduate-level jobs, such as nurses, teachers, civil engineers and financial analysts.

The proposal represents a one-third reduction in the number of working visas issued to those outside the EU.

Occupations still eligible for the visa would be reduced from 192 to 121 and may reduce even further.

Committee chairman David Metcalf said: “Skilled foreign workers make a valuable contribution to the economy but, in the context of limits on migration, it is essential that the immigration system is designed to select those migrants we need the most.”