UK firms 'won't need to list foreign staff'

Border Force official checking passport Image copyright PA

UK companies will not be told to list or name foreign workers they employ, the government has said.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon told the BBC: “We are not proposing to ask companies to name, list, identify or shame those who happen to be foreign”.

Last week a Conservative briefing suggested firms would have to be “clear about the proportion of their workforce which is international”.

The proposal was attacked by some as “regressive” and “nasty”.

Among the critics were ex-Prime Minister David Cameron’s former aide Steve Hilton, who described it as “foreign working shaming”.

He addressed his thoughts to Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the Sunday Times: “Hey Amber, for your next brainwave, why not announce that foreign workers will have numbers tattooed on their forearms? You might as well do the job of killing Britain’s reputation as an open, enterprise economy properly.”

But Mr Fallon told BBC Radio 5 live’s Pienaar’s Politics: “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.

“We’re going to consult with business, and the consultation document hasn’t even been published yet, on how we can do more encourage companies – to incentivise them – to look first at the British labour market. And to offer these jobs to British people, which is what the British people would expect, before they import labour more cheaply from abroad.”

While Ms Rudd did not make the proposal in her speech to the Conservative Party conference, a briefing was sent around afterwards on proposals on how to make sure migrant workers were not doing jobs that could be done by British workers and “whether employers should have to… be clear about the proportion of their workforce which is international, as is the case in the US.”

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