New employment rule: Brits preferred to migrants

Restriction regarding the flow of workers from outside the EU into Britain 19 January 2009 – Ministers are preparing to tighten the immigration rules to try to ensure that firms take on jobless British people rather than skilled foreign workers during the recession.

The Sunday Telegraph and The News of the World reported that Home Secretary Jacqui Smith was taking action to ensure that British workers get "first crack of the whip" when skilled jobs become vacant.

The Home Office confirmed she wanted to further tighten the Government’s new points-based immigration system which is designed to control the flow of workers from outside the EU into Britain.

She is now working with Work and Pensions Secretary James Purnell on a new requirement for employers to advertise skilled posts through the Job Centre Plus network which are not open to migrant workers from outside Europe.

Officials were said to have calculated that between 60,000 to 80,000 jobs which went to immigrant workers last year could have been filled by British people if such a restriction had been in place.

Ministers were said to be preparing to make an announcement within weeks.

Ms Smith told The Sunday Telegraph: "At a time when people are worried about losing their jobs, and therefore worried about being able to get quickly back into another job, it’s even more important that we can say and show that when jobs become available, it’s British people who get the first crack of the whip of taking those jobs.

"We need to be very sure that a job is being actively marketed for a worker who is already here and who needs that job before we assume that migration is the only way we can fill those skill shortages."

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