Mandatory lists of foreign employees branded 'badge of shame' amid immigration crackdown
Home Secretary Amber Rudd's plan to force firms to reveal the number of foreign workers they employ in a bid to crack down on immigration has been slammed by businesses.
The British Chambers of Commerce said companies would be made to wear the lists as a “badge of shame” after Ms Rudd unveiled the plan in her speech to the Conservative conference yesterday.
She said the move would pressure companies to take on more local workers and “prevent migrants taking jobs British people can do”.
It was one of a range of measures outlined in her Conservative party conference speech aimed at slashing the numbers coming to Britain.
But Adam Marshall, acting director-general of the BCC said: “It would be a sad day if having a global workforce was seen as a badge of shame.
“It does not tell you anything about what the company is doing to train up their UK workforce or the effort and lengths they have made to recruit in the UK before turning overseas.”
He added: “Now is not the time to tell businesses they have to jump through hoops to get the talent they need from around the world.”
James Sproule, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, told Radio Four's Today programme his organisation was "not enthusiastic" about the plan, insisting firms should be free to employ who they like.
Businesses could also be forced to set out the impact on the local job market of hiring non-EU workers in a tightening of the test for companies recruiting from abroad.
Foreign students are also set to be hit in the crackdown, with a consultation on restricting the current visa system.
Those attending elite institutions could be treated more favourably than others, while the right of students' spouses to work during their degree will also be reconsidered.
The plans were widely condemned by business groups and the Labour party.
'CHANGE TIDE OF OPINION'
Ms Rudd warned institutions that refuse to cooperate with the plans: “This Government will not waver in its commitment to put the interests of the British people first.
“Reducing net migration back down to sustainable levels will not be easy. But I am committed to delivering it on behalf of the British people.
“So work with us, not against us, and we’ll better control immigration and protect our economy.”
She added: “We have to look at all sources of immigration if we mean business...
"It’s only by reducing the numbers back down to sustainable levels that we can change the tide of public opinion, so once again immigration is something we can all welcome.”
Elsewhere, Ms Rudd pledged to change the law to make it easier to deport European criminals and make it harder for convicts from the EU to re-enter the UK under the normal free movement immigration rules.
And she unveiled a £140m ‘Controlling Migration Fund’ to ease the pressures on communities and reduce illegal immigration.
The Tories have so far failed in their pledge to cut immigration to the tens of thousands, with net migration to the UK standing at 333,000 last year.
At a Conservative party fringe event, EY's Margaret Burton warned that post-Brexit, “more than two thirds of employers are concerned they will not be able to find the skills they will need in the UK.” Read the full article here: Combating the skills gap post-Brexit