The decision to maintain the cap of Tier 2 work permits at its current level has been praised by business groups.
Gillian Econopouly, head of policy at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), for example, welcomed the "good news" that the government has "heard the concerns of business loud and clear and avoided tightening the cap for the next two years".
The cap means that thee will be a limit of 20,700 UK Tier 2 work permits on offer each year until at least 2014, rather than a contraction in the allowance as had been suggested.
But Ms Econopouly noted that the REC is still "opposed to the immigration cap in principal".
She added: "Although the total cap limit was not reached in 2011/2012, as the economy recovers, businesses will need to access specialist talent from overseas more than ever. The ability to bring in highly-skilled workers is critical to the creation of jobs and growth for our domestic labour market."
Businesses have also largely welcomed the changes to the Resident Labour Market Test requirements, which mean that jobs with a £70,000 or more salary attached, or those requiring PhD level skills, will no longer need to be advertised via JobCentre Plus, which should reduce the burden on employers.