Home secretary announces crackdown on work visas
Katie Jacobs, October 05, 2016
18 months ago we advertised for a new Chief Operating Officer, following the decision of the incumbent to resign after 40 years service, now she was nearing 65. No-one applied internally (in my ...
Read More Keith Appleyard
October 05, 2016 15:37
Companies may also be made to reveal how many international workers they have on their payroll
Home secretary Amber Rudd has announced government plans to crackdown on work visas and force businesses to hire more British workers.
In her speech at the Conservative Party conference, Rudd said the government would be exploring whether it needed to “tighten” the test companies have to take before recruiting from abroad, to ensure migrants are “filling gaps in the labour market, not taking jobs British people could do”.
She added that relying on foreign workers had allowed some businesses “to get away with not training local people”, and said the UK needs to focus on upskilling “our own workforce”. “I want us to look again at whether our immigration system provides the right incentives for businesses to invest in British workers,” Rudd said.
She revealed that organisations may be forced to list the number of international workers they employ. However, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, Rudd said this was not "definitely" going to happen.
Speaking on the Today programme, Rudd added she wanted to work with businesses to encourage them to hire locally. "I want businesses to think first about locally training people where possible," she said, adding that she wanted to stop businesses going abroad for staff because they think it's "cheaper" or more efficient.
In her speech, Rudd also announced a crackdown on higher education, with plans to limit the number of students coming from outside the EU to study at lower-quality institutions.
“I want to reduce net migration while continuing to ensure we attract the brightest and the best," she said.
Rudd’s speech echoes health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge to make the NHS “self sufficient” and reduce reliance on medical professionals from overseas.
Reacting to Rudd’s speech, CBI deputy director-general Josh Hardie said it is time “to be clear about the value of migration to the UK”.
“Businesses will not welcome further restrictions on high-skilled migration from key trading partners around the world, especially as a series of changes were only announced earlier this year,” he said.
“At a time when we need strong links globally to seize new opportunities after the referendum, being seen as open to the best and brightest is vital. And we should be clear that business does not see immigration and training as an either/or choice. We need both.”
The Institute of Directors’ head of employment and skills policy Seamus Nevin said he was disappointed the government did not take the opportunity to offer some clarity and certainty over the status of EU workers already employed in the UK.
“The evidence is clear that migrants are a benefit to the economy,” he added. “The UK has a record level of employment, so immigration is not hurting jobs. IoD members who employ migrants also train British workers.”
He called on the Home Office to ensure businesses are not forced “to do the work of government”, adding: “Small companies do not have the expertise or know-how to vet immigration applications.”