Government abandons plans to force businesses to reveal foreign staff numbers

During the Conservative Party conference Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans to force companies to reveal how many foreign staff they employ.

She warned that foreign workers should not be able to “take the jobs that British people should do” and announced plans to make companies publish the proportion of “international” staff on their books”.

However Justine Greening, the Education Secretary, yesterday announced that companies will not be forced to publish the data. She said that it will instead be used to identify skills shortages.

She said: “This is not data that will be published. There will be absolutely no naming and shaming. This is about informing policy so that we understand which areas and part of the country there are skills shortages evidenced by the fact that employers are not taking local workers as much as they might do. It then enables really to tailor policy in those areas so we can respond to that.”

It comes after Steve Hilton, a former adviser to David Cameron, suggested that ministers might as well announce that “that foreign workers will be tattooed with numbers on their forearms”. Writing in The Sunday Times, he condemned the policy as “repugnant” and “divisive”.

The Government had announced plans for a consultation which would require that “employers should have to set out the steps they have taken to foster a pool of local candidates, set out the impact on the local labour force of their foreign recruitment and be clear about the proportion of their workforce which is international, as is the case in the US”. The plans to publish foreign worker numbers will now not not be included in the consultation.