Foreign Workers Reforms may Restrict Recruitment
Government plans to limit the number of skilled British jobs going to non-EU workers may make it harder for employers to find the recruits they need, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has warned.
From next year, businesses will be required to advertise jobs in the UK for one month (up from the current two weeks) before they can go ahead and recruit skilled non-EU workers.
According to the Home Office, the move will ensure that British workers are not only first in line for jobs, but also have more time in which to apply.
But the FPB has warned that the measures may make it harder for employers to find recruits with the right skills, unless education and the current JobCentre system were improved.
“It is certainly important that the domestic jobs market is made more accessible to UK-based workers, but this will depend upon changes to the education system so that it is better able to provide able and work-ready young employees,” said an FPB spokesman.
“It should also include an overhaul of the existing Jobcentre Plus system, which, for many small businesses, is not providing the local talent they believe is available on their doorsteps,” he added.
The Government has also announced plans to extend the qualifying period for overseas workers who want to work at their firm’s UK base. From next year, employees will need to have worked for their firm for at least a year, rather than the current six months, before they can transfer to the UK.
“These changes will ensure that businesses can recruit the skilled foreign workers that the economy needs, but not at the expense of British workers, nor as a cheaper alternative to investing in the skills of the existing workforce,” said Home Secretary, Alan Johnson.
The measures have been announced by the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee amid concerns that the recession is increasing resentment against workers from overseas.
The Government has not confirmed exactly when the plans will go ahead, but the changes are expected to start from early next year.