Saturday

25th Jun 2022

UK government backtracks on foreign workers lists

  • The Tory government wants to encourage companies to hire British workers

The UK government has announced a u-turn on a plan forcing firms to draw up lists of foreign workers.

"This is not going to happen," defence secretary Michael Fallon told BBC on Sunday (9 October).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

He added that firms could be asked "simply to report their numbers".

The data would be used to assess the labour market and encourage companies to hire British workers.

"What I can absolutely rule out is that we will not be asking companies to list or publish or name or identify in any way the number of foreign workers they have," Fallon said.

The controversial idea was announced by home secretary Amber Rudd at the Conservative Party conference last Tuesday (5 October), and drew strong criticism.

Even the UKIP, which campaigned for Brexit with a hard line on immigration, said the plan went "too far".

UKIP MEP Roger Helmer said on Saturday that plans to “shame” companies who employ foreigners would be branded “fascist” had they been advocated by his party.

Steve Hilton, a former adviser to ex-prime minister David Cameron, writing in the Sunday Times condemned the policy as repugnant and divisive. He had suggested that ministers might as well announce that “foreign workers will be tattooed with numbers on their forearms”.

Diane Abbott, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said the Tories were in "disarray".

In the meantime, businesses continue to worry over the implications of Brexit.

A poll taken more than three months after the referendum said that 88 percent of finance officers feel their businesses are facing abnormally high levels of uncertainty. In the immediate wake of the 23 June vote, the figure was 92 percent, the Guardian wrote.

May: Brexit is 'quiet revolution'

The British prime minister concluded the Tory party conference in the UK by pledging to regain control of immigration and by taking a swipe at pro-EU elites.

British ministers take aim at EU migrants

UK ministers spoke of hiring “British citizens first” and of deporting “EU criminals” on the third day of a Tory party conference in Birmingham.

Brexit-affected citizens want special deal on rights

Facing two years of uncertainty while Brexit negotiations are underway, EU and UK citizens caught up in the political battle want a separate agreement to secure their rights and future.

News in Brief

  1. Belgian PM: Gas shortage requires joint response
  2. Bulgarian MPs set conditions for lifting enlargement veto
  3. Latvia: We need a brigade-size Nato force to 'feel safe'
  4. Deal reached on controversial energy treaty reform
  5. EU carbon emissions from energy up 6% in 2021
  6. Germany step closer to gas rationing
  7. Albania: EU 'disgrace' at lack of enlargement progress
  8. 'Serious blow' to EU credibility over North Macedonia

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us