Companies have to consider workers in the UK for some jobs

Last updated: 10 Oct 2016

Defending the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, the Daily Telegraph asks today whether it’s “really controversial to ask companies if there are British workers capable of doing the jobs before they look abroad?”

Perhaps, according to the Independent. It reported on a backlash “when Ms Rudd said firms employing from abroad could have to use tests to ensure overseas workers do not take jobs ‘British people could do’”.

But it’s not controversial according to the Immigration Rules. They already require companies who want to sponsor certain types of visa to prove that no-one in this country is qualified for the job.

Sponsors have to advertise some jobs within the UK before hiring someone from outside the EU, unless the role is on the ‘shortage occupation list’. This applies to several types of visa including ‘Tier 2 (General)’, described as “the main visa route for bringing skilled non-EU/EEA workers to the UK” by the House of Commons Library.

Roughly speaking, about 20% of UK work visas were potentially preceded by this ‘resident labour market test’ in 2015, although there are various exceptions on top of shortage occupations. So it’s hard to be sure exactly how much compulsory advertising has taken place.

The Home Secretary said in her party conference speech that the government would be “examining whether we should tighten” this test, complaining that it’s “become a tick box exercise”.

And these rules don’t apply to any workers from the EU. After we leave, EU citizens able to come and work here without a visa at the moment may need one.

So we may be hearing more about these advertising requirements.


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