CIPD: Cameron to ‘put Britain first’ with amendment of employment regulations. The government has announced plans to amend current employment agency legislation in a bid to prevent recruiters from advertising jobs exclusively overseas.
Under the proposal, employment agencies and businesses will be required by law to advertise vacancies within the EEA, only if they have also been advertised in English and in Great Britain.
Recruitment sector legislation under the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 currently does not regulate where job vacancies are advertised, which the government claims allows some recruiters to advertise vacancies outside of the UK without giving workers in Britain the opportunity to apply.
Cameron is now seeking views from a wide range of stakeholders who use the recruitment sector through a consultation on the government website, in a bid to “create a level playing field” for workers.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week, David Cameron said: “Some recruitment agencies have even been recruiting directly from elsewhere in the EU without British workers ever getting a chance to apply for the jobs. So we are banning overseas-only recruitment – legally requiring these agencies to advertise in English in the UK.”
“This is quite simply about putting British residents first,” he said.
But Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) questioned whether there was evidence of misconduct already happening.
“British agencies should be listing all vacancies in Britain and in English. Advertising exclusively overseas is already prohibited under the existing Equality Act and we have not seen any evidence that it is happening. Anyone with evidence should contact us so we can investigate,” he said.
“Any discriminatory practice in this area must be stopped and we will work with BIS on this consultation and with all government departments and political parties to uncover and address any evidence of such behaviour,” he added.
The new regulation will not apply to adverts in non-EEA countries, as advertising restrictions already exist, and there will be an exception for advertisements for vacancies solely in another EEA country, in line with the Equality Act 2010. Justification will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Recruitment experts have questioned whether the regulation, which will only apply to employment agencies, should be extended to ordinary employers or hirers.
In response, the government proposal read: “The Equality and Human Rights Commission will shortly be commencing a research project looking more widely at potential discriminatory recruitment practices, by employers as well as employment agencies and employment businesses.”
Keith Faulkner, the chair of Tempo, an alliance of temporary recruitment agencies, said he was “supportive of the government’s aims to prevent agencies from recruiting solely from overseas.”
“However it is important that the ability of businesses in the UK to grow as the economy recovers is not constrained by an inability to access the skilled or unskilled workers they need,” he added.