Amber Rudd signals climbdown on controversial foreign workers' list plan after backlash

Posted On: 
5th October 2016

Amber Rudd today signalled a climbdown on plans to make companies list the number of foreign workers they employ after a furious backlash.

She said the controversial policy was "not something we're definitely going to do" after business leaders and politicians joined forces to condemn it.

The Home Secretary floated the idea in her speech to the Tory conference yesterday, saying she wanted to encourage firms to recruit locally-trained staff instead of relying on employees from overseas.

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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", while James Sproule of the Institute of Directors said his organisation was "not enthusiastic" about the proposal.

In a furious attack, crossbench peer Lord Bilimoria told Radio Four's Today programme: "This is absolutely shocking. I think this country had moved so far in breaking through glass ceilings, being a meritocracy, and here we are having to name and shame foreign workers.

"We have EU citizens in construction, 250,000 in the hospitality industry, in agriculture, in our universities, 30% of academics that are in our top universities are foreign. The NHS would collapse - 130,000 people from the EU are in the NHS and care sector and this is how we treat them. This is absolutely wrong. It's shocking."

Appearing on the same programme, Ms Rudd insisted it was just a proposal and may not come to fruition.

She said: "This is one of the things we're going to look at in the review. But it's not something we're definitely going to do, it's one of the tools we're going to use as a review to see if we can use it as a way of nudging people to do better behaviour. We are saying work with us, businesses, to deliver on what we need to have, which is a more skilled local labour force."

Meanwhile, other politicians took to Twitter to express their anger.







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