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Indian ethnicity preferred: “Racist” advert sparks off a row

IT firm prefers professional of Indian origin

19 March 2010: A British IT firm’s advertisement seeking someone “preferably of Indian origin” has resulted in a racism row in the UK.

The advertisement appeared on a recruitment website, and was placed for Bristol-based computer company Torry Harris with bases in Britain and India.

The advertisement for the £38,000-a-year job read: “Minimum six years of experience in IT. The person should be a UK citizen with security clearance from the UK government. Preferably of Indian origin.”

The Daily Mail said the advertisement was removed from jobsite.co.uk; and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched an investigation.

The advertisement was spotted by IT consultant Vince Silva of Chepstow, Gwent.  Silva said he had never seen a recruitment ad like this before. Describing it as “appalling”, he said it raised a wider question on the manner in which big companies in Britain were bringing in IT workers from abroad instead of recruiting them here.

Torry Harris declined to comment, even as the EHRC said it was unlawful to discriminate against a job applicant on the basis of their nationality. The EHRC said it would be looking into the matter.

Recruitment agency McGregor-Boyall Associates insisted the advertisement was placed in error. Agency spokesman Farhaan Majid termed it as a mistake, and added some companies prefer employing people of Indian origin, as they were immediately available and don’t mind moving. Often people in Britain have mortgages and don’t want to move.

The recruitment firm’s managing director Laurie Boyall added the ad should not have been put up, and was cut and pasted from material sent to them by a client in India.
 
Conservative MP David Davies also condemned the advertisement by saying it was quite clearly racist. He called on the EHRC to show resolute action in dealing with cases of anti-British discrimination.

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